For many Catholics, Dec. 12 is known for being the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. What many Catholics may not know is that this year the day is also the fifth anniversary of the Paris Agreement on climate change, in which most of the world’s countries agreed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
One group that seems to be forgotten in these discussions, however, is the indigenous people living in and surviving on the Amazon rain forest, National Catholic Reporter pointed out.
“We still don’t have access to the places where the decisions are made … even though we are the original inhabitants of our territories, where the salvation of the planet is, where global warming can be avoided,” Gregorio Díaz, leader of COICA, an umbrella group of Amazonian Indigenous organizations, said during a virtual panel discussion of Indigenous leaders that was part of a Dec. 8 event called the “Cry of the Rainforest.”
Ghanaian Cardinal Peter Turkson said Pope Francis faces a similar dilemma when it comes to the topic of the environment. He seems to have great influence in the global arena on such topics, but not among the faithful, Catholic News Service noted.
“On the world stage, Pope Francis is admired, cherished and recognized” for his moral authority on environmental issues and the need for concrete acts of solidarity, as expressed in his encyclicals, Laudato Si and Fratelli Tutti, as well as his many statements, said the cardinal, who is prefect of the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.
“And one would have thought that when the leader so speaks, all the followers would also kind of come on board,” but that has not been the case, he said Dec. 9 during an online webinar, days before the Dec. 12 global climate summit which will be co-hosted by the United Nations and the UK.
“There appears to be some slight disconnect between the head and the body,” Cardinal Turkson said.