July 24, 2014
Calling it their spiritual obligation to “safeguard the integrity of creation,” the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC) is asking church members to take action to prevent global warming and mitigate the effects of climate change.
In a paper summarizing their October 2013 conference in Bangkok, Thailand, bishops representing 18 countries in Southeast Asia underscored “the human responsibility for human-induced changes in the climate,” calling it a matter of intergenerational justice. “To hand over a planet that is not livable to the next generation is an injustice,” according to “FABC Paper No. 140: Climate Change, Asian Impacts and Response.”
Mekong Adaptation and Resilience to Climate Change monitoring and evaluation specialist M&E specialist Pakprim Oranop na Ayuthaya, left, briefs IUCN Field Coordinator, Bampen, on the project in Sakon Nakhon Province. Photo credit: Tawatchai Rattanasorn
The paper cites recent pronouncements from Pope Francis and Pope Benedict, who in 2007 said, “we cannot just simply do with our earth, in reality entrusted to us, whatever we want and whatever appears useful and promising at a given moment.”
The bishops’ clarion call is directed at the Church in Asia and, through them, to governments and civil society. Their conference includes 436 dioceses/ecclesiastical jurisdictions, more than 600 active and retired bishops, and approximately 3 percent of the population of the member countries.
The 44-page paper also includes a presentation paper by DAI’s Paul Hartman, Chief of Party of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Mekong Adaptation and Resilience to Climate Change project. Hartman’s presentation at the October conference highlighted USAID’s efforts in the lower Mekong basin to identify environmental, economic, and social effects of climate change and assist vulnerable populations in adapting. Another section addresses the plight of Asia’s small island states such as those being assisted by the USAID Coastal Community Adaptation Project, also implemented by DAI.
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