The Conference of the Parties (COP) is really important to me because it is a chance for all the leaders of the nations that have signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to come together and discuss the deteriorating health of the planet and how to assist the communities that have been detrimentally affected by the devastating impacts of climate change.
As I was at COP I kept an ongoing internal dialogue, reminding myself of why I was there. I kept telling myself,
“I am here because my faith calls me to take action”
“I am here because of the words of Pope Francis promulgated in Laudato Si’ which calls us all to care for creation”
“I am here because climate change is real. The communities suffering from it are real and the most vulnerable countries to climate climate change are the least emitters of carbons”
As a Christian, I truly believe that God has called us to love and support one another. Many scriptures remind us that we are all brothers and sisters and that we are all one. Our love, support and concern for each other should have no boundaries, despite differences in geographic location, language, gender, race or any other aspect. One scripture that comes to my mind is from the First Epistle of John.
“But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?”
I believe the term ‘world’s good’ refers to certain privileges, and in my part of the world I believe I obtain some of these ‘world’s good’ that John was talking about. For example, in my part of the world, I have freedom of speech which I should use to speak up for the communities that are silenced. Another ‘world’s good’ I have is access to the internet and social media and I should use it to bring to the forefront, our global brothers and sisters who need our attention and assistance.
This scripture is telling me that I can not say that I love God and have the love of God dwelling in me if I choose to be ignorant to the needs and the wants of the world’s most marginalised, poorest and vulnerable. I must not be ignorant to the injustices that are faced by other people, which include, not just those in the economically deprived places of the world, but also the deprived communities in my own country. As a Christian, this is how I measure the love of God in my heart.
That is why when we were doing the ’24 Hours for the Climate’ prayer vigil, I felt a sense of deep joy because I knew that it was what God wanted us to do. A group of people from the UK, with a considerable amount of ‘world’s good’ when combined all together, using our privilege of free speech and access to the internet and social media, to create a platform where communities that have are affected by climate change could share their stories. We were able to amplify the voices of our brothers and sisters in need and bring them to the attention of the decision makers and negotiators at COP26. I am very proud of the team!