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Caritas says the time to act on climate change is now


30 September 2015

Caritas says the time to act on climate change is now

Urgent action must be taken to help communities in Oceania cope with the serious consequences of climate change and environmental degradation, many of whom have been struggling with these issues for more than a decade. This is one of the main findings from the State of the Environment report for Oceania 2015 - Caring for our Common Home being released on October 4 by Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand.

Drawing on information gathered from the many grassroots communities Caritas works with in Oceania, the report includes calls for the global community to negotiate a strong, legally binding, and truly global climate agreement, and for national governments to increase climate finance funding and ensure it reaches the most vulnerable.

Among the environmental issues focused on in the report are increasingly extreme weather events, the inappropriate use of climate finance funding and concerns about the impact of mining and drilling the ocean floor for minerals, oil and gas. A 'Caritas indicator' included in the publication gives a snapshot assessment for 2015 of how a particular issue is impacting people’s lives – and what room there is for improvement.

A statement released by Caritas leaders from across the region, following the recent Caritas Oceania regional forum, puts the impact on individuals in perspective.

"For us Oceania peoples ... climate change is a daily struggle. For many of our Oceania countries it is a question of whether we remain on or leave our sinking homes. Our livelihoods are linked to the Pacific Ocean. Sea level rise and ocean acidification and other effects of global warming threaten our way of life – and even our national identities. For us it is a matter of life and death.”

Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand director Julianne Hickey, one of the Caritas Oceania leaders, will present key findings and recommendations from the State of the Environment report to the UN Climate Change conference in Paris later this year (COP21) as part of the international Caritas delegation.

The State of the Environment Report builds on Caritas' foundational report Small Yet Strong – Voices from Oceania on the Environment, released last year and presented by a Caritas delegation at the major climate conference held in Peru in December, 2014.

The report will be launched in Christchurch on Sunday, 4 October, 2015, following a special Mass at St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral.

In Wellington, a special launch and presentation of the report will be held onMonday, 5 October at the Caritas main office.


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