Changes to our climate primarily affect the world’s poorest people. Natural disasters such as droughts, floods and cyclones are increasingly frequent and the majority of them are occurring in developing countries. Caritas Australia is helping vulnerable communities adapt to the impacts of these changes, which are already affecting millions of people.
Join us in being inspired by Laudato Si', the Pope’s encyclical calling on us all to protect creation as an expression of our faith and ethical responsibility. Caritas Australia supporters are taking actions to demonstrate their support for climate justice.
Many of the world’s poorest countries have made only minor contributions to climate change, yet they are the most vulnerable to its effects and least capable of making the necessary adaptations.
Ongoing research and observation – including anecdotal evidence from Caritas Australia's partners and projects – clearly point to the devastating consequences for the world's poor if we fail to respond to a changing climate. Our partners have told us that the rains are coming earlier, the drought is lasting longer, fresh water is becoming scarcer and extreme weather events such as cyclones are increasing in frequency and intensity.
At a recent Caritas seminar in Fiji, Father Michael McKenzie from the Diocese of Tarawa, Kiribati said "For us climate change is a life issue – people are trying to cope with it day by day. For the rest of the world it is an economic issue."
Our Caritas approach
Climate justice currently receives a vast amount of attention from politicians, scientists, media, policy makers, environmentalists and industry groups alike. But to what extent are the world's poorest and most vulnerable communities featured in these conversations?
Caritas Australia believes this is an issue for the entire international community, and a global humanitarian approach is required to ensure that justice and human dignity are maintained in the face of a changing climate. We must move beyond the realms of science, politics, and economics – and approach this as an issue of social justice.
Caritas Australia’s response
- Climate change is an issue for the entire international community. Caritas Australia's A Just Climate campaign promotes ecological sustainability to minimise the impact of climate change on the world's most vulnerable communities. It is about protecting the inherent human dignity of the poorest of the poor.
- In Kiribati, 16 people have been trained to visit low lying outer Islands to raise awareness, provide support to mitigate the impacts of erosion and protect freshwater supplies.
- In Australia a scoping study is looking at the establishment of an Aboriginal Carbon Fund in the Northern territory which revealed that the development of carbon economies on Aboriginal lands through carbon abatement techniques or carbon sequestration activities will assist to alleviate poverty and help deliver a range of co-benefits to the Aboriginal people.