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  • Pope Francis recently released his 180-page Encyclical where he called for all Catholics to take action on climate change.

    Faith leaders, religious scholars and activists have gathered today to reflect on the Pope's message and broaden the discussion to consider how various faiths share the same message that we have a moral imperative to take climate action.

    Atiya Jay, activist and divestment organizer, representing young people at this forum shares her thoughts (audio),

    "We are also recognizing that as a result of this wreckage of the climate, the people that are suffering the most and disproportionately are some of the most vulnerable in our world already. This includes indigenous communities and people of colour across the world, especially in the Global South.

    What we are calling into question here are the economic systems that allow these kinds of injustices to happen and what's been really exciting is that this call for climate justice has been echoed by the Pope. In the Encyclical it says that,

    'The idea of infinite or unlimited growth which proves so attracted to economists, financers and experts of technologies is based on the lie that there's infinite supply of the Earth's goods, and this leads to the planet being squeezed dry at every limit.'

    The Pope very effectively talks about our need to experience a dramatic paradigm shift in the way that we perceive economic growth.

    As Naomi Klein put it, "This is a strange time, a Papal Encyclical is generating as much excitement as a Beyonce album."

    We are finally having a much needed discussion about climate change and the root causes. But once we identify the root causes, it's also really important to take action.

    ...The first and most important step that we can take is to ensure institutions we are affiliated with aren't profiting from the destruction of the climate. And I am turning to Pope Francis to see if he will be a trailblazer once again in moving the Catholic Church towards divesting from fossil fuels.

    We are really on the brink of change."

    The Pope offers hope that we need to reevaluate the way we live but we need to respond to the urgency of the climate crisis,

    We may well be leaving to coming generations debris, desolation and filth. The pace of consumption, waste and environmental change has so stretched the planet’s capacity that our contemporary lifestyle, unsustainable as it is, can only precipitate catastrophes, such as those which even now periodically occur in different areas of the world. The effects of the present imbalance can only be reduced by our decisive action, here and now.

    At Isabel Bader Theatre, Toronto.
    Event co-organized by For our Grandchildren, Adjacent Possibilities, and Just Earth.
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