The year does not appear to begin well for the care of creation. The amount of money pledged by the US and Europe to assist countries in the Global South already critically affected by climate change (the loss and damage fund) is dwarfed by their military spending.
‘COP 28 was a memorable COP for many reasons…….But yet again, and as with its predecessors, no outcome documents mentioned the contribution that military activities or warfighting makes to the climate crisis.’ (‘Always money for war’ the Conflict and Environment Observatory, Dec. 2023. ceobs.org)
Pope Francis was too ill to attend COP 28, but his speech, delivered by Cardinal Parolin, was unequivocal: ‘Are we working for a culture of life or a culture of death?…Let us choose life! Let us choose the future!’
Care for Creation and Peace are the most urgent issues and they are closely linked.
‘How much energy is humanity wasting on the numerous wars presently in course…conflicts that will not solve problems but only increase them! How many resources are being squandered on weaponry that destroys lives and devastates our common home!’
Terrible scenes of war, indiscriminate destruction of life, homes and livelihoods unfold each day before us. The problems facing the world at the start of this year seem too large and complex for us to have any influence on them. They may even seem too distant to affect us. Can the killing and destruction caused by wars waged miles away really have any link to the floods experienced across England this January?
‘Always money for war’ – Where does the money come from to fund the weapons and the carbon emissions that are destroying life, health and our common home?
The Just Money movement:
Since the last update, questions have been put to me by two more parishes about parish and diocesan banking and the potential for Catholics to influence financial institutions.
It may seem an impossible project to disentangle and change long-established financial links. A necessary first step would be to find out whether through these links we are unwittingly a thread in the culture of death Pope Francis warns us against.
Useful websites: justmoney.org.uk/money-makes-change-hub/banking/ ; www.ethicalconsumer.org/money-finance/banks-weapons ; www.indcatholicnews.com/news/48616 ; ceobs.org
If any parish is interested in looking into this further and establishing a network of concern, please contact me at this diocesan email address.
More details can be found at https://christianclimateaction.org/ The website includes a link to Catholics for Christian Climate Action.
Also on 24 February is the first National Justice and Peace Network open networking day for this year. The meeting is online. Ellen Teague, a Catholic journalist who works for the Columban Missionaries, will be speaking about Pope Francis’ recent document Laudate Deum; a speaker from Pax Christi will talk about the environment as cause of conflict, and there will be discussion of ideas for local action. (contact [email protected] for more details of how to join the meeting.)
Solar Panels and EV Charging
Following two items raised in the November update: installation of solar panels on church roofs and electric vehicle chargers in church car parks:
Two parishes are considering solar panel installation.
With regard to EV charging, churchmarketplace.com (which set up the Inter Diocesan Fuel Management scheme for renewable energy provision) is working on a suitable EV installation scheme to offer to dioceses. Ed Whitaker, the diocesan finance officer, is seeking more information to share with parishes.