“Nothing less than a systemic transformation of our societies, our economies and our world will suffice to solve the climate crisis and close the ever-increasing inequality gap”. -peoplestestonclimate.org
Climate change and poverty are inextricably linked and for many lay led Catholic organisation including CIDSE it defines our work on both. Without addressing one you can’t address the other. This is also what is at the heart of the Papal Encyclical real eased earlier this month. It talks about the ecological crisis being a manifestation of the deeper human crisis, where everything is connected, and the solution aren’t just technical but systemic. We are called to challenge current paradigms of economic growth and material consumption which benefit only the wealthiest in society.
With the upcoming international negotiations on development and climate change, 2015 is provides an opportunity to make the much needed right decisions for humanity and our planet. The dismal pace of international negotiations for the past two decades and the prospect of yet another disappointment at the COP 21 in December has motivated citizens, social movements, faith groups and civil society organizations around the world to join their voices in unison for a thorough and systemic transformation of our societies, to tackle the ecological crisis and deepening social inequality.
The People’s Test on Climate seeks to evaluate the outcomes of COP21 through the eyes of people, especially those who are most vulnerable and whose livelihoods are affected by increasingly unstable climate conditions. The objective is to put pressure on decision-makers to be more ambitious and less business-as-usual, as nothing less will address the most urgent existential challenge of our lifetime. Indeed, the urgency for keeping temperatures down and reducing emissions is not only about the planet and the environment, it is about “our capacity as humanity to secure safe and dignified lives for all”.
As signatory of this initiative, CIDSE adds its voice to this urgent call for a profound social and environmental transformation of our societies, where social inclusion and solidarity are its key drivers.
The people’s demands are inspired by a vision of a world that recognizes the need to live in harmony with nature and where human rights are respected and guaranteed. These demands include:
– Sustainable energy transformation: redirecting finance from dirty energy to clean, affordable, reliable and safe renewable energy, supporting people’s solution including decentralized community renewable energy systems, banning new dirty energy projects, ensuring that access to clean, affordable, reliable and safe renewable energy is a public good, reducing energy consumption particularly by wealthy elites, and ensuring that reducing poverty and achieving justices is prioritized throughout the transformation;
– The right to food and water: ensuring people’s access to water and to land for climate resilient food production, stopping land grabs and the ongoing conversion of land from good to commodities like biofuels that are falsely presented as solutions to the climate crisis, and supporting sustainable agro-ecology and climate resilient food production systems;
– Justice for impacted people: securing and building the resilience of impacted people including reparations for the worlds impoverished and marginalized people who have no role in causing climate change, yet whose lives and livelihoods are endangered by its effects, supporting a just transition for workers into the new environmentally and socially inclusive economy and supporting people – and community-driven adaptation and rehabilitation solutions.
To meet the People’s Test, the UN Paris Conference must catalyze immediate, urgent and drastic emission reductions; provide adequate monetary, technological and technical support for adaptation and building resilience in vulnerable and poor countries; deliver justice for impacted people and communities, and focus on transformational action, that is, ensuring that sustainable and efficient solutions are emphasized rather than false solutions that fail to produce the results and protection we need, like carbon markets in land and soil or geo-engineering.
The results of the COP21 in Paris will be judged on the basis of these demands and proposals. However, beyond the achievements or non-achievements of the conference, the People’s test’s ultimate objective is take the opportunity to start connecting people’s demands for justice, equality, food sovereignty and fundamental human rights, and to strengthen our collective and individual actions in a way that will force governments to listen and act in the interests of the many, and not only in the interests of the few.
Every year that we miss increases the challenge and the risks. Climate change needs our determined commitment at the local, national, regional and global levels to ensure that the care for our common home and the respect of human dignity are at the center stage of the profound transformation that our society needs.
Visit the People’s test homepage, become a part of a growing movement for change.
Meera Ghani- Policy and Advocacy Officer, Climate Justice