AFRICA/KENYA – “The era of conquest, extraction, and exploitation has given way to cooperation and community”: the petition of religious leaders

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Nairobi – “We envision a world transformed, in which humanity in all its diversity has developed a shared reverence for life on planet Earth. Together, we are building resilient, caring communities and economies that meet everyone’s needs and protect the planet”, said African religious leaders, signatories of the petition on climate change, referring to the COP26 underway in Glasgow. “The era of conquest, extraction, and exploitation has given way to cooperation and community” they added.
According to the text sent to Fides, African religious leaders insist on “not perpetuating an outdated economic system that relies on fossil fuels and the destruction of the very forests, waters, oceans and soils that make life possible”. They point out that they should accelerate renewable energy development; ensure universal access to clean water and air, affordable clean energy, and food grown with respect for the land; create jobs paying family-sustaining wages to workers in safe conditions.
Religious leaders further caution that “financing must end immediately for agribusiness and extractive industries that immorally destroy tropical forests, its matchless biodiversity, and its Indigenous guardians”. They appeal to governments to “enact and enforce laws that protect people and planet alike, in keeping with the inherent dignity of every human being and the world’s biodiversity,” and that “wealthiest countries must commit to reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and accelerate finance and technology transfers to poorer countries to ensure a global just transition to zero before 2050”. In their message, religious organizations promise to be “models of environmental leadership, utilizing rituals, religious education, facilities, and the public voices of our spiritual leaders, members and followers, encourage local circles of care and resilience in communities to participate in the transformation through education, organizing, advocacy and job training”.
“Each person carries a divine spark, unique gifts, and a moral responsibility to make one’s life a blessing for the Earth and all people”, the religious leaders concluded their message addressing each individual.
The petition supports Pope Francis’ appeal for urgent action and bears the signatures and requests of more than 120,000 Catholics and more than 425 partner organizations, which collectively represent hundreds of thousands of Christians from six continents. Among others, Bishop Joseph Obanyi of the Diocese of Kakamega, Kenya, the Secretary General of the Council of Churches in Zambia, which includes the Zambian Conference of Catholic Bishops , Fr. Emmanuel Chikoya and members of the Uganda Interreligious Council .