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My experience in Fiji

My name is Tobias Nissen, I am an 18-year-old UK / Danish dual national who has lived in France my whole life. I attended school in Geneva, Switzerland and during my final years of education, I wrote an essay about the effects that climate change is having on low-lying Pacific countries. From this point on my interest in the Pacific region grew, and when I received the opportunity to work as an intern for the Pacific Conference of Churches, in Fiji for 2 months, I knew that it would be an experience that I couldn’t miss.

Reflecting on California groundwater abuse

I live in western Oregon, part of the Pacific Northwest long regarded as a verdant paradise, courtesy of rains and snowfall that can exceed 100 inches each year.  The snowfall in the mountains sustains our rivers through the dry summer.  But our climate has been profoundly disrupted.  Where I live, summers are far drier and hot.  But just to the south of us, this climate change has caused a drought worse than any drought in the past 1200 years.  Scientists call it a “mega-drought,” a severe drought affecting massive areas of the western United States for more than two decades.  

Urgency to act now for climate justice

Participating in the COP26 in Glasgow resembled a reunion of sorts. After the pandemic cancelled meetings of the World Council of Churches (WCC) Working Group on Climate Change and led to the rescheduling COP26, it was wonderful to catch up with my ecumenical friends who are devoted to the work of climate justice.

Stop Hoping. Start Resisting.

If you try hard and believe in the power of positive thinking, you may be able to take comfort that COP26 provided some hope. But if you remove the rose-colored spectacles, it becomes clear that we should abandon the sentiment of hope and commit to lives of faithful resistance.

Returning to where everything started

As people of faith concerned about the climate crisis, there are two origin stories that may guide and concern us as we ponder how we ought to live in the world today. One is the Genesis story, which establishes our faith in the God of Creation, and our particular role in nature. Another, is the story that started years ago on the same soil and the same river where COP26 is taking place today.

At COP26, “it is like no one emotionally can comprehend what is happening”

Passing through closed streets, groups of cops and demonstrations to get to the Blue Zone is a strange situation for someone with roots in the Christian activist environment. I walk with the badge around my neck but I try to cover it with my jacket until I get to the first security check before entering the Blue Zone, the place where the negotiations happen. Thousands of people gather in the Blue Zone, the observers, the delegations, the press, the staff. It is like a small society here, a society under the UN flag that exists only for a couple of weeks. 

Climate change: a stage for world political leaders—and a question of our hearts

COP26 in Glasgow started this week, offering a stage for world political leaders. For most of them, it was an opportunity to share their vision of the world they are leading. For some others, despite being among the most powerful, COP26 is also an opportunity to express their position on the major challenge of humanity in the 21st century by their absence. What did we hear in the first two days of this COP?

COP26: historic moment into what really matters to sustain life

The highly anticipated, long awaited COP26 began 31 October. It has now been six years since the adoption of the Paris Agreement at COP21 and much remains to be implemented in order to fulfil the promises agreed to at that historic moment by the member states. We knew then that the road ahead would be challenging and that changing our systems would require a radical shift in policies and behaviours—but we were hopeful. 

Climate change in Switzerland

It seems strange to put Switzerland in a line with other countries affected by climate change: not because we don’t suffer from climate change as well but because we, as Swiss people, should be very aware of how our problems stand in relation to our wealth.

Economic and fiscal challenges from COVID-19

The aftermath of the pandemic will present enormous long-term political, social and economic challenges. After the pandemic has subsided, there will be an enormous financial cost to be calculated – especially in terms of increased government debt for almost every country. In particular, there is a very real risk that the UN Sustainable Development Goals will not be met. As Christians, we cannot use COVID-19 as an excuse for inaction and the preferential option for the poor must be recognised.

Not good enough

The synthesis report from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on the National Determined Contributions (NDC) under the Paris Agreement was released at the end of last February. This report sums up the NDCs reported to UNFCCC until 31 December 2020. It represents 40% of the parties and 30% of the global emissions.