Paris, Overwhelming but Another Step Forward

The following is a final blog post from FAN’s, Jason Miller who attended the second week of the Paris Climate Summit, COP21.

Jason Miller

When I first arrived in Paris, I realized that together the faith community can move mountains, and that climate change is not a future proposition, but something affecting our brothers and sisters across the globe right now. Both of these things are still true. But now, as I reflect back on my time in Paris, I realize that it was quite an overwhelming but rewarding experience that I am still trying to process. The best part of the trip was that I got to know nearly 20 members of the Franciscan family from six continents during our time there. From all different branches of the Roman Six we came together and, at the end of about one week, came up with a statement of action for the entire Franciscan family. It was a daunting but rewarding task and I look forward to its publication. Being with so many different Franciscans from so many different parts of the world reminded me of the many far reaching branches of the Franciscan family and the fact that we have a responsibility to share with other Franciscans what we learned in Paris: mainly that climate change is happening here and now, mostly to the poorest of our brothers and sisters and that the first world is mostly to blame. The time to act is now. It’s already too late.

Despite the enormity of being in Paris, and the negotiations themselves, I was pleasantly surprised that all of the countries agreed to a threshold lower than 2 degrees Celsius. Unfortunately, the agreement is not fully legally binding and does not have a human rights provision, but the lesson there is that Paris is not the end, but rather just another step in the road of ensuring that God’s creation is inhabitable for future generations. We must act now to reverse the devastating effects of climate change and the COP21 agreement is another step in the right direction. As Pope Francis reminds us, the earth is a gift on loan, and we must never forget our interconnectedness with each other and with each living creature.

The one aspect that I most regret is that there was so much going on during the COP that I could not possibly attend it all. There were so many speakers, events, panels, at the Green Zone and all around the city, it was quite overwhelming. I figure, this is good practice for the next COP, as we know that this is just another step along the road of caring for our common home, both for those being affected by climate change today and for future generations.

Published in: on December 18, 2015 at 4:46 pm  Leave a Comment  

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