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Climate experts and activists: Broad, diverse alliances needed to fight climate change

2015-07-01

After "Laudato Si” was released, it generated some controversy. But what was more surprising was the positive response it received from very different groups. From Jewish socialists to traditional Catholics, the encyclical found some interesting allies.

Some of those supporters spoke at a Vatican press conference about climate change.

BERND NILLES
Secretary General, International Alliance of Catholic Development Organizations
"With the help of this press conference, but also tomorrow and the day after with the international conference, we try to unite to bring together people from all parts of society and all faiths. And I think this panel shows already what we have in mind, and how we want to follow the invitation of the Holy Father to create dialogue and exchange to bring new ideas and solutions about the environmental degradation we are facing.”

The remarks came during a press event held ahead of the "People and Planet First: the Imperative to Change Course” conference. It will take place on July 2nd and 3rd at the Vatican.

Another speaker was the author and social activist Naomi Klein. She said she had originally been surprised to have received an invitation.

NAOMI KLEIN
Activist
"Pope writes early on in 'Laudato Si,' that this is not only a teaching for the Catholic world, but for every person living on this planet. And I can say that as a secular Jewish feminist who was rather surprised to be invited to the Vatican, it certainly spoke to me.” 

There were also voices you might expect to see at such an event: like a Catholic climate scientist who could provide a religious and scientific view.  

PROF. OTTMAR EDENHOFER
Co-Chair, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 
"The encyclical refers to the atmosphere as a global common of humanity, as a common good for all and of all. And with this statement, the common destination of goods, for the first time in the history of the Catholic social teaching, applied to global carbon sinks.”

The upcoming conference was organized by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, and the International Alliance of Catholic Development Organizations. They said that when organizing the event, they sought to bring in diverse voices to receive their opinions, and to also bring the Pope's message to even more groups. 


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