11 30 17 web 2The 23rd session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on Climate Change recently convened in Bonn, Germany. This conference marks the first anniversary of putting the 2015 Paris Climate agreement into force in 2016. This conference was organized by Fiji, a small Pacific Island nation that has been particularly vulnerable to the consequences of climate change.  An interfaith forum held on November 13 and 14th in Bonn highlighted the necessity of action by faith communities. 

The US Federation of Sisters of St. Joseph Leadership Council has issued a public statement on Climate Change (Click here to read the statement) which recognizes the role that human influence has on the climate system. The statement calls attention to carbon emissions which seriously contribute to climate change and affects large factions of the global population. Many areas will experience water scarcity while other areas near major rivers are flooded.

Climate Change is a current event which calls our attention to the need for action now.  In particular, there is a need for faith communities at the grassroots to come together and do what they can to live sustainably and advocate.  Fiji, the sponsor of this 23rd COP, is currently being affected by climate change which is forcing displacement of its communities. 

Through Talanoa (an inclusive process of storytelling and dialogue to search for consensus) the Fiji presidency is being encouraged to listen to other parties.  There has been much loss and damage due to climate.  Financial assistance is needed to channel and mitigate climate change as global companies continue to emit large amounts of carbon.  Coal production and consumption is the highest it has ever been at the expense of people and our Earth.11 30 17 web   

 Speakers at the Bonn conference noted that many heads of states, including our U.S. President are walking away from the Paris Agreement. Speakers spoke to the importance of community action at the grassroots.  Faith communities in particular are called to hold those responsible accountable for carbon emissions.

By speaking out on climate change as part of the CSSJ heritage to “serve the der neighbor without distinction” the Sisters of St. Joseph recognize that concern for all creation should reflect our interdependence and common responsibility for the future of our planet.

The message of the Bonn conference is a call for all nations to work together because global warming is not a future event.  It is happening now and causing displacement of large groups of people.  As women of faith we desire to live in a manner that will sustain the earth and its people.  We support the Sustainable Development Goals which the United Nations seek to implement particularly related to climate change and issue this statement to encourage awareness and action by others.