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Catholic Entity in Africa Mobilizing Signatures to Advocate for Climate Friendly Decisions

Credit: GCCM

The leadership of Laudato Si’ Movement in Africa, a Catholic organization championing for the care of the earth and ecological justice, is calling on Christians across the continent to append their signatures to the Healthy Planet, Healthy People Catholic Petition and lobby political leaders to make climate friendly decisions. 

In a Friday, September 24 interview with ACI Africa, the Programs Manager of Laudato Si’ Movement in Africa, Fr. Benedict Ayodi, said the petition set to be presented to leaders participating in the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP 15) and the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 26) seeks to support Pope Francis’ call for the care of the earth in his Encyclical Letter, Laudato Si’.

“We appeal strongly to all Catholics, individuals and our partners including Catholic institutions and organizations, schools and Parishes to mobilize and sign the petition,” the official of the organization formerly known as Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM) said. 

He added, “We need the signatures in order to support the Pope in what he says in Laudato Si’. More so, this is to petition world leaders to take climate action, climate justice as soon as possible because we face this catastrophe of climate change.”

“It is also our responsibility as people of faith to be good stewards of the environment,” Fr. Ayodi further said, emphasizing the need for Christians to sign the petition that is being championed by the Laudato Si’ Movement and the Dicastery for Integral Human Development (DIHD). 

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He explained that Africans, whose response to the petition launched in May has been slow, need to actively participate in the campaign as they are most affected by the degradation of the environment. 

“In Africa, the response has been a bit slow because the petition has been mostly online,” Fr. Ayodi said. 

He explained, “In Laudato Si’, the Pope is very clear that we are interconnected and our solutions should be integral. The Pope also said that people who suffer most due to climate change are the poor and the vulnerable. Many of our populations in Africa are poor and we are already feeling the effects of climate change.”

“We are getting the big impact of climate change and so for us to sign, is to add our voice as the people from Africa that the issue of climate change is affecting us,” said the member of the Order of Friars Minor, Capuchin (OFM Cap.).

In the Healthy Planet, Healthy People Catholic Petition, mobilizers of the appeal say that “our common home and our common family are suffering.” 

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“Our planet’s biodiversity is disintegrating at the hands of humans,” they say and explain that scientists estimate that humans are driving species to extinction “at a rate of up to 1,000 times faster than without human influence.”

They add, “In parallel, the worsening climate crisis is causing rising sea levels and more extreme weather, devastating lives and livelihoods. The climate crisis and biodiversity collapse are twin crises. A warming world is exacerbating the spiraling loss of blameless species. And further loss of nature will jeopardize our capacity to deliver on the 1.5-degree limit to global warming.”

The mobilizers of the petition further say humanity is “hurtling towards a global catastrophe” unless urgent action is taken.

In the September 24 interview with ACI Africa, Fr. Ayodi emphasizes the need to sign the petition saying, “signatures have a loud voice and you can do advocacy through them. Please sign the petition.”

The petition will be of value to the African people as the appeal may be submitted to the African Union (AU) delegation that will be attending the COP 15 and COP 26, he added.

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“We may submit our petition to the delegation going under the AU. In the COPs people negotiate regionally, like AU will negotiate from Africa, because our problems are different from other places,” Fr. Ayodi said. 

As Africans, the Catholic Priest said, “we are strongly going there because we have big populations and we have massive land that is being destroyed as forests are being cut, conflict and diseases.”

Apart from accessing the petition online at https://thecatholicpetition.org/, Fr. Ayodi said the people of God in Africa can reach out to the Laudato Si’ Movement through Parish Priests and Laudato Si’ Animators for hard copy petitions. 

“You can reach us for paper petitions, then sign and send it back to us through a picture, or call us to collect the petition,” the Kenyan Priest said, adding that the Laudato Si’ Movement has representatives across the continent of Africa.  

The Laudato Si’ Movement in Africa can also be reached via call on +254793521080 or email on [email protected]

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