At the end of October 2021, the UK will host COP 26, the UN’s annual climate conference, in Glasgow. It will gather world leaders and governments, including Pope Francis and the Holy See, to discuss climate change and renew commitments to ending the climate crisis.
As we become increasingly aware of the importance of our climate and the health of our planet, COP 26 takes on considerable significance this year, as countries across the world report back on progress they have been able to make in respect of pledges agreed at the 2015 Paris Agreement: a legally binding treaty on climate change, whose goal is to limit global warming.
As we have heard from a number of climate activists in recent times, it is not just down to states to implement agreements: significant changes can be achieved through small personal everyday actions. For example, choosing whether to walk, cycle, or drive, making dietary choices that involve eating a little less meat, or considering whether the source of our household electricity is sustainable and healthy for the planet.
The Holy Father also asks us to consider the importance of Integral Ecology, that is, the holistic approach to some of the political, social, economic, and environmental problems that trouble our world today. The destruction of our environment is threatening people's homes and their ability to earn a living, but through an integrated approach it is possible to restore and maintain balance for all.
We pray for those attending and contributing to COP26, that the Holy Spirit will guide their decisions and actions at this time: for the care for the earth, including the repair of essential habitats, and for the creation of a fairer and sustainable economy for everyone. May we collectively seek to protect God's handiwork, whilst resolving to play our part caring for our common home.