Christian Brooks encourages people to take a more firm stance on loss and damage related to climate change.
“It’s time to pay up,” she said, meaning that rich countries need to either forgive debt, pay reparations, or offer other forms of support for countries who have gone into crippling debt to address disasters, food shortages, and other catastrophes.
“It’s time to do our fair share,” she said. “As far as what I am doing, I’m really trying to change the way we talk about climate in my organization and in the circle I’m in as a whole.”
As she attends sessions at COP27, she learns more and more about the necessity of interconnectedness of all nations in caring for creation.
“I am really seeing how the United States has played a part in some of the devastation in other countries,” she said. “You know, I think that faith and climate really go hand-in-hand because when we’re thinking about climate, we’re thinking about creation.”
She believes climate change represents a break in a relationship that was meant to be interconnected. “We haven’t been good stewards of the resources that we have been given on the earth,” she said. “We see these mass tornadoes, tsunamis, things of that sort, that are really breaking down our world,” she said.
People of faith are called to care for creation, she added. “When it comes to our faith, the main thing for me is that it’s not about us,” she said. "It’s something better that we believe in, that we are accountable to.”
At COP27, Brooks has been able to join with people all over the world in a spirit of faith.
“There’s that sense of oneness, that body, that togetherness that helps us move forward in a way that helps us not think only of ourselves,” she said. “We all have a set of morals and a set of beliefs that we use to guide our actions, and that we can use that to say the direction of where policy goes so that it’s more in line with what we believe.”
Brooks has been making a lot of connections at COP27. “We can’t think of prosperity in one place but devastation in another place—that independence is not going to last.”
Brooks believes that COVID-19 showed us that we can’t think in silos. “You have something that occurred on one side of the world that affected everyone,” she said. “We have to understand that, and once we understand that, we’re able to kind of move forward in a way that will be more effective.”
She believes this will require some of the more prosperous countries being able to give up some privilege. “Privilege is not a safety net—it can be taken away,” she said. “As long as we try to hide behind the safety net of privilege, it gives us a false sense of security.”
Brooks finds hope in the people that she is meeting at COP27. “Even though our leaders are not really playing ball together as much as they should, there are so many people here from different countries who are of the same accord,” she said. “Just knowing that we stand together and that we’re in this fight together gives me the motion I need to move forward, knowing that I’m not alone.”