The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Thousands March in Rome to Celebrate Pope Francis's Call for Urgent Climate Action
People of faith, civil society groups and communities impacted by climate change marched together in Rome today to express gratitude to Pope Francis for the release of his encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si', and call for bolder climate action by world leaders.
Under the banner of "One Earth One Family," the march brought together Catholics and other Christians, followers of non-Christian faiths, environmentalists and people of goodwill. The march ended in St. Peter’s Square in time for the Pope’s weekly Angelus.
The celebratory march was animated by a musical band, a climate choir and colorful public artwork designed by artists from Italy and other countries, whose work played a major role in the People’s Climate March in New York City last September. Among the artwork was a 75-meter sign in the shape of a green leaf, with verses from Scripture which speak to God’s care for creation and for the poor.
“As we stand at this critical juncture in addressing the climate crisis we are particularly grateful to the Pope for releasing this encyclical as an awakening for the world to understand how climate change impacts people across all regions,” said Arianne Kassman, a climate activist from Papua New Guinea who was in attendance at the march to speak on the realities of climate change in her region of the Pacific.
“The truth of the matter is that all of humanity needs to stand united in addressing the crisis of our times. Climate change is an issue for everyone with a moral conscience,” she added.
Among the messages relayed to the Pope during the march was a request to make fossil fuel divestment part of his moral message in the urgent need to address the climate crisis.
“The fossil fuel divestment campaign is hinged on the same moral premise communicated by Pope Francis in his encyclical,” said Father Edwin Gariguez, executive secretary of Caritas Philippines. “The campaign serves to highlight the immorality of investing in the source of the climate injustice we currently experience. Which is why we hope that moving forward and building on this powerful message, Pope Francis can make fossil fuel divestment a part of his moral argument for urgent climate action.”
A petition urging Pope Francis to rid the Vatican of investments in fossil fuels has already gathered tens of thousands of signatures.
— Federico Brocchieri (@FedericoClimate) June 28, 2015
Over the past months, dozens of religious institutions have divested from coal, oil and gas companies or endorsed the effort, including the World Council of Churches representing half a billion Christians in 150 countries. In May 2015, the Church of England announced it had sold £12m in thermal coal and tar sands and just this week the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) announced it will exclude fossil fuel companies from its investments and calls on its member churches with 72 million members to do likewise. In total, more than 220 institutions have committed to divest from fossil fuels with faith institutions making up the biggest segment.
As world leaders prepare to meet in Paris later this year for the UN climate talks, the growing divestment movement will continue to fuel the ethical and economic revolution needed to prevent catastrophic climate change and growing inequality, a key message from Pope Francis’ encyclical.
“The clear path required to address the climate crisis is one that breaks humanity free from the current stranglehold of fossil fuels on our lives and the planet. This encyclical reinforces the tectonic shift that is happening, we simply cannot continue to treat the Earth as a tool for exploitation,” said Hoda Baraka, Global Communications Manager for 350.org, one of the organizers of the march.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Whitney E. Akers
- "The Game Changers" is a new documentary on Netflix that posits a vegan diet can improve athletic performance in professional athletes.
- Limited studies available show that the type of diet — plant-based or omnivorous — doesn't give you an athletic advantage.
- We talked to experts about what diet is the best for athletic performance.
Packed with record-setting athletes displaying cut physiques and explosive power, "The Game Changers," a new documentary on Netflix, has a clear message: Vegan is best.
By John R. Platt
When it comes to solving problems related to wildlife trade, there are an awful lot of "sticky widgets."
By Bijal Trivedi
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report on Nov. 13 that describes a list of microorganisms that have become resistant to antibiotics and pose a serious threat to public health. Each year these so-called superbugs cause more than 2.8 million infections in the U.S. and kill more than 35,000 people.
By Joe Vukovich
Under the guise of responding to consumer complaints that today's energy- and water-efficient dishwashers take too long, the Department of Energy has proposed creating a new class of dishwashers that wouldn't be subject to any water or energy efficiency standards at all. The move would not only undermine three decades of progress for consumers and the environment, it is based on serious distortions of fact regarding today's dishwashers.