Caritas lobbies G77 bloc at Durban climate talks

By |2 December 2011|

Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga brought the concerns of Caritas members to one of the most important negotiating groups at the Durban climate talks: the 132 nation G77 and China bloc of developing countries.

Durban climate talks: African voices urge climate justice

By |2 December 2011|

By Patrick Nicholson African faith leaders sent a strong message to delegates at the UN climate change conference in Durban, urging political leaders to take the decisions necessary for the survival of humanity. “We demand that our political leaders honour previous commitments, and quickly move towards more humane, environmentally responsible policies and practises,” said Cardinal Wilfrid Napier OFM of Durban on behalf of the KwaZulu Natal Interfaith Community at a press conference at the climate summit. Delegates from nearly 200 countries are meeting in the South African city from 28 November to 9 December for major talks under the UNFCCC on a deal to cut greenhouse gas pollution and provide funding for poor countries to adapt to the consequences of climate change. “There is strong evidence that such steps will not be taken at COP-17,” said Cardinal Napier, urging religious and spiritual communities globally to do what political leaders have failed to do. “We [...]

Durban climate talks: What’s God got to do with it?

By |1 December 2011|

By Patrick Nicholson Q. What’s God got to do with it? A. Everything “At the centre of creation is human beings,” said Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, President of Caritas Internationalis at an event during the Durban climate talks. “Our economic system and its search for money above all have dehumanized human beings. Religious groups have a duty to humanize them again.” Cardinal Rodriguez was part of a panel on ‘What’s God got to do with it’ during Climate Communications Day, a side event at the UNFCCC. Other panelists included Lic. Elias Crisostomo Abramides (World Council of Churches); Bishop Geoff Davies (Southern African Faith Communities Environment Institute) and Rabbi Hillel Avidan. Lic. Abramides said if we destroy plants and animals, we destroy ourselves. Bishop Davies said all faith groups were united in saying to the politicians that this is not just an economic world but a beautiful world worth saving. He said science and [...]

Advocacy in action at Durban climate talks

By |1 December 2011|

By Patrick Nicholson An insurance policy covering loss and damage to your property if there is hurricane or flood isn’t an option if you are poor. But one of the smaller issues discussed at Durban is how to provide communities with just such coverage through a ‘loss and damages’ fund. Dr Anwara Shelly from Caritas Bangladesh is taking part in the UN conference in Durban wearing two hats, both as Caritas and on the official Government of Bangladesh delegation. On the details of negotiations in the conference centre, Caritas experience in the field can have a real impact. At a session on the loss and damage fund, Dr Shelly raised her hand to urge that fund not be targeted at the national level, but at the local or district level where it can be most effective. “My 24 years of experience with Caritas Bangladesh has shown me that in a disaster, [...]

Cardinal Rodriguez at Durban climate talks

By |30 November 2011|

By Patrick Nicholson Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez of Honduras met UN officials today as talks in Durban on climate change continued. The Cardinal is representing Caritas Internationalis at the UNFCCC meeting along with Caritas members from South Africa, Kenya, Bangladesh, and the British Isles. Some 25,000 government officials, lobbyists and scientists are expected to attend the two-week conference that is seeking a new deal to follow the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. Cardinal Rodriguez met with UNFCCC Chief of Staff Daniele Violetti to discuss the impact of climate change on the world’s poor and the importance of faith leaders in mobilising support for action. Violletti stressed the importance of bottom-up pressure from civil society and faith groups in combating climate change. This Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI’s called for delegates at the climate talks to agree a responsible and credible deal to cut greenhouse gases. “I hope that all members of the international community agree on a responsible [...]

Video from the climate change rally in South Africa

By |28 November 2011|

Joseph Kabiru of CAFOD talks about African perspectives on climate change at the We Have Faith rally (Durban, 28/11/2011)

Durban climate conference: Caravan of Hope

By |24 November 2011|

Hundreds of people from all over Africa are joining a “Caravan of Hope”, which is covering more than 4,000 miles and 10 countries en route to the UN climate talks in Durban, South Africa. The coach convoy set off from the Burundian capital, Bujumbura, on 9 November, and is picking up people all along the journey’s 17-day route, passing through Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Botswana and South Africa. Follow Joseph Kabiru on the Caravan of Hope on the CAFOD (Caritas England and Wales) blog

Climate justice priority at Durban talks

By |24 November 2011|

Caritas Internationalis President Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga and Caritas South Africa will be leading a delegation of representatives from the Caritas members to UN climate talks in Durban, South Africa. [Read press release from 24 November 2011] The 20-strong Caritas delegation will be taking part in several events in Durban in focusing on the impact of climate change in Africa. [Read Caritas Internationalis statement to the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)] Cardinal Rodriguez said, “Urgent action is necessary. Climate negotiators in Durban must not further delay agreeing to international legislation to curb the threat of climate change and set the world on a path to a more just and sustainable future.” Follow the Caritas delegation in Durban here.

World Food Day: Feeding Bangladesh

By |12 October 2011|

By Bishop Theotonius Gomes CSC, President of Caritas Bangladesh Bishop Theotonius Gomes CSC is President of Caritas Bangladesh. He travelled to international climate negotiations in Poznan in 2008 and in Copenhagen in 2009 as part of Caritas efforts to get a fair deal for the poor.  In Bangladesh, food is the basic daily concern. There is much unjust poverty. There is a lack of “daily bread” for many. The smallest available food is treated with great care; and it brings joy to the poor. The success of any government, aid agency, society or family lies in providing food security. Bangladesh has achieved three times higher food production over the last four decades by maximizing new technology. But progress is under threat as a result of rising sea levels and extreme or unusual weather patterns. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Bangladesh will lose the largest amount of cultivated land globally due [...]

World Food Day reflection from Bangladesh

By |12 October 2011|

By Bishop Theotonius Gomes CSC, President of Caritas Bangladesh  One essential aspect of the mystery of the human person is its union of the earthly body and the heavenly soul, a union on earth destined for eternity. On earth, the body has to be a true home for the eternal spirit; in eternity the soul has to be home of the risen body. On earth, food assists the body in its essential function to keep “body and soul together” towards the fulfillment of that mystery of the human person. Thus ‘food security’ is hardly a mere earthly affair, it has eternal overtures. The Lord’s Prayer is no common petition. It is the prayer for the coming of the Kingdom of God. In it we pray for the “daily bread”, the everyday food of the poor leading to the eternal bread of tomorrow for all. Scripture refers to food as the basic earthly need: At creation, no [...]

Oceania feeling the brunt of climate change

By |7 October 2011|

by Martin de Jong, Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand Against a backdrop of severe drought across the central Pacific, Caritas Oceania representatives from eight different nations gathered in Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand earlier this month for their annual forum. About 25 people attended the week-long event, including representatives from Caritas Internationalis, and Catholic Relief Services (CRS) – Asia. Many of the states represented, such as Tonga and Kiribati, are among the most vulnerable to climate change due to their low-lying nature or vulnerable shorelines. A closing statement from the forum said its members stand ‘in solidarity with the poor and marginalized of the region. We are particularly concerned by the impact of climate change in our area.’

Climate change in Algeria

By |20 July 2011|

By Caritas Algeria staff  Like many countries in Africa, Algeria has not been spared by the effects of extreme or unseasonal weather. Known for its arid and semi-arid climate, the region is highly vulnerable to changes in climate. Over the last 50 years, an increase in extreme weather events has been observed. Phenomena that bear witness to this change, which are recorded in climatological studies carried out by the National Meteorological Office, include an increasing frequency in torrential rainfall, especially in the high plateaus (e.g. Ghardaïa and Béchar in 2009–2010), that has caused flooding for the first time ever. By 2020, maximum daily rainfall may exceed the normal annual average in the south of the country. Other extreme phenomena have occurred: cyclogenesis, drought, heat waves and sandstorms. Scientists have estimated that rainfall will decrease by around 20 percent in the coming years. Experts from the ‘Hydro-meteorological Institute for Training and Research’ foresee a [...]

Green Tips from Catholic Health Association in the U.S.

By |20 July 2011|

In the United States, Catholic hospitals, medical centers and health care centers came together in 1915 to form the Catholic Health Association (CHA). Its goal was to support one another in the ministry to the sick, the poor and the vulnerable. Today CHA remains dedicated to serving the nation's Catholic health care organisations and supporting the strategic directions of mission, ethics, and advocacy. CHA is also a leader in the United States regarding environmental issues, especially the “greening” of hospitals. You are invited to see their publications, inviting and challenging Catholic health institutions to become better stewards of the environment. In a recent publication entitled Environmental Sustainability: Getting Started Guide, CHA provides some great Green Tips. Here are some tips related to leadership: Green tip: What does leadership look like? Announces policies Develops an environmental mission Encourages dialogue Promotes/publicises your successes Develops an executive sustainability dashboard Identifies a lead person and committee structure for sustainability activity Apply for awards Develops a [...]

Protecting integrity of creation in Africa

By |20 July 2011|

Participants from the Church in Africa and Caritas Africa members have met in Johannesburg, South Africa to plan their response to the challenges of climate change. The Consultative Meeting of Secam-Caritas Africa Working Group on Natural Resources and Climate Change (SECAM stands for the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar) brought together 25 participants from 7 to 11 May. “This conference took place at very opportune time in South Africa when a debate was raging about the issue of [the oil company] Shell’s proposed exploration for gas in the Karoo by means of ‘fracking’” said Sr. Aine Hughes, Caritas South Africa. “The Karoo is one of the most sensitive and unique bio-diverse areas and the impacts of the ‘fracking’ include pollution of aquifer water, air pollution and of course, climate change impacts from the burning of gas and the release of methane—a potent greenhouse gas,” she said. “The church encourages the [...]

Changing lives in Bangladesh

By |20 July 2011|

By Caritas Bangladesh staff  Fishing for crabs in the vast mangrove forest of the Sundarbans in Bangladesh is a dangerous way to make a living. A local poem says you always have a ‘shiver of fear’ as you travel the complex network of waterways, mudflats and small islands because the Royal Bengal Tiger does not work to a ‘timetable’. The Sundarbans, or “beautiful jungle”, is the single largest swathe of mangroves in the world. The coastal mangroves and seasonally-flooded fresh water inland swamp covers 10,000 sq.km. of the Bay of Bengal, half of which are in Bangladesh. They are one of the wonders of nature, home to a diverse eco-system of flora and fauna. They are a source of livelihood for the local people, who catch fish, collect wood, crabs, tiny shrimps and honey there. In the dark forest and canals, however, tigers find it easy to stalk and attack men and [...]

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