Pope’s climate message: hear the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor

19 Jun 2015   |   Media release   |   Long-term Development

Caritas Australia, the Catholic Church’s international aid and development agency, has welcomed the Pope’s encyclical letter, Laudato Si’ - Sulla cura della casa comune (Praised be – on the care of our common home).

Pope Francis calls for individual, local and international transformational change to safeguard the earth for present and future generations.

The Holy Father emphasizes that the poorest and most marginalised communities around the world are those who will bear the largest brunt of climate change and that their dignity should be upheld. 

“The World Bank estimates that 80 per cent of the human and financial damage due to climate change will occur in poor countries.” says Caritas Australia CEO, Mr Paul O’Callaghan. 

“So, at a time when global policy debate is dominated by the interests of the wealthiest countries, Pope Francis says that there needs to be proper recognition of the large majority of world citizens who are very poor. That is why he asks us to 'hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor’.” 

Caritas Australia, the international aid and development agency of the Catholic Church, responds to women, men and children most vulnerable to extreme poverty and injustice across the world. Many communities rely heavily on the land and are already responding to a changing climate with resilience and creativity.

 “Communities of south-west Bangladesh have radically transformed their farming practices so that they are able to adapt to unpredictable weather patterns and reduce the effects of salinisation on their land and waterways. They are working together to produce a sustainable food supply, and a more secure future for their families,” says Mr O’Callaghan. 

“In the 32 countries where Caritas works, many community and Church leaders often ask us to convey to the Australian Government their hope that Australia takes a more active leadership role on climate change matters”.  

"Caritas Australia is calling on the Australian Government to show strong leadership in protecting the environment and especially to play a constructive role at the Paris UN climate negotiations in December. Australia should be active in achieving a global agreement that sets us on a path to a zero-emissions economy by mid-century and implementing more ambitious domestic policies,” says Mr O’Callaghan. 

To read stories of resilience, innovation and dignity from some of the communities most threatened by climate change go to Our Common Home.

For on the ground interviews contact media advisor Nicole Clements on 0408 869 833 or media@caritas.org.au

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