The summit of conscience: a unique call gathering spiritual and religious authorities from around the world [fr]
Initiated by Nicolas Hulot, special envoy of President François Hollande for the protection of the planet, the summit culminated into the “Call to conscience for the climate”.
Quoting Nicolas Hulot, François Hollande defined the climate crisis beyond its “scientific, technological, economic and, political” dimensions, describing it as a “crisis of sense”. According to him, the commitment of religious leaders in the fight against climate change is essential because of their legitimacy to address billions of people who are pondering about human destiny.
The French Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, Mr. Laurent Fabius, used the event to recap the progress made during the preparatory negotiations ahead of the global conference on climate change (COP21) and pointed out the growing awareness of public opinion and the better knowledge of the scientific community on global warming as some of the assets to effectively fight against climate change.
The following personalities were also present: Mr. Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary General, Mr. Michael Higgins, Irish President and Mrs. Irina Bokova, Director General of UNESCO. On his part, Kofi Annan urged the future participants in the COP21 not to forget Africa: “Let’s not forget that Africa can and should be a part of the climate change solution although it is the region that contributes the least to gas emissions.”
The day was divided up into four plenary sessions, to successively discuss the universal dimension of climate change, the personal testimonies by the leaders invited about their fight against climate change; the mitigation measures of its effects and the mobilization tools.
Nicolas Hulot then emphasized the role of “religious conscience” in the fight against climate change. A first step has already been taken with the publishing, in June, of the encyclical Laudato Si, the first formal pontifical writing on the environment question.
The campaign “Why do I care”
As a prelude to COP21, the Summit of Conscience launched the campaign “Why do I care”, also known as the “Call to conscience for the climate”, requesting everyone, political leaders, leading figures and citizens from all countries to answer this simple question: “Why do I care?”. The aim of this approach was to look at COP21 not only as a representative of a government or an organisation, but also as a human being having his or her own conscience. Indeed, according to the Summit of Conscience participants, to make the difference in 2015, everyone has to ask themselves about their choices to better defend them.
1300 people have already answered this call, among them is the Ugandan Bishop of Bunyoro Kitara diocese, Msg. Nathan Kyamanywa, who affirmed in his reply that if human beings were to disappear, the environment wouldn’t be affected but in the opposite case, where environment would be deeply disrupted, we wouldn’t survive.
Therefore, all of you world citizens, young and old, are hereby invited to express yourselves in order to contribute to make climate change and the protection of our planet an issue we should solve during COP21.
To participate in the “Why Care Campaign”, Please click here!