HomeNewsFaith-based, green groups declare climate emergency, press for Rights of Nature bill

Faith-based, green groups declare climate emergency, press for Rights of Nature bill

The Philippines is among the most vulnerable countries to the impacts of climate change

Over 80 faith-based, government, and pro-environment groups signed a declaration last week calling for the Philippine government to declare a “climate emergency.”

The declaration emphasizes the “interconnectedness of all beings” and “our responsibility to protect and respect nature’s inherent right to exist and flourish.”

The signatories under the Rights of Nature Philippines (RoN PH) movement called in “duty-bearers” to take immediate action to address the ongoing climate crisis.

The group called for “bold and strategic actions” for climate change mitigation and adaptation, protection of forests and other natural ecosystems, sustainable consumption and production, and self-determination of Indigenous Peoples.

It also advocates for legislative reforms, investment in climate research and development, climate education and awareness-raising, and international, national, and local solidarity and cooperation.

The organizations and institutions that signed the declaration include the Commission on Human Rights, 23 Catholic dioceses across the Philippines, environmental groups, Indigenous Peoples’ organizations, and youth groups.

“We are declaring it now because our government is not hearing our clamor. If they will not do it now, we should show them the way,” said Yolanda Esguerra, national coordinator of Philippine Misereor Partnership Inc.

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“We need to declare it ourselves and continue to challenge them because it is their primary mandate to protect the people and the environment,” she said.

The declaration highlights the need for climate and “intergenerational justice” to ensure that the benefits and burdens of climate action are distributed fairly and that vulnerable communities are not left behind.

It challenges economic and political systems that prioritize profit over nature and people and calls for a just transition to a sustainable future that benefits everyone.

The signing of the declaration came amid growing concerns about the impacts of climate change in the Philippines, including more frequent and severe typhoons, flooding, and droughts.

The Philippines is among the most vulnerable countries to the impacts of climate change, with millions of people at risk of displacement and loss of livelihoods, said the group.

The declaration concludes with a call to “Keep it down to 1.5C” and enact the Rights of Nature bill, which recognizes the “inherent rights of nature to thrive and protect itself from destructive anthropogenic activities that caused climate change in the first place.”

“We are fighting for the Rights of Nature and climate justice to address the climate crisis in a way that is fair, equitable, and sustainable for all,” said the group Rights of Nature Philippines in its statement.

“We urge all sectors to join us in this collective effort to protect our common home and ensure a sustainable future for generations to come,” it added.

Among the signatories of the declaration are members of the Laudato Si Movement Pilipinas, Caritas Pilipinas, Conference of Major Superiors in the Philippines, and the Fellowship for the Care of Creation Association Inc.

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