Faith communities explore climate change response
Faith-based relief and development agencies, along with experts from the government, business and security communities, have gathered on Capitol Hill for a conference to explore current international efforts and emerging best practices for helping vulnerable people adapt to climate change.
The conference, “Adapting to Climate Change Impacts in Developing Countries: the Moral Imperative and the Practical Challenges,” shows how the religious community is responding to the impact of climate on the poor around the world.
The conference is sponsored by the National Religious Partnership for the Environment (NRPE), an association of faith groups including the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), the National Council of Churches U.S.A., the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life, and the Evangelical Environmental Network.
“United States leadership and increased international resources to address this global challenge will be essential,” wrote Bishop Howard J. Hubbard of Albany, New York, chairman of the USCCB Committee on International Justice and Peace, and Ken Hackett, president of Catholic Relief Services (CRS), in a June 3, 2010 letter to Congress. “Leaving poor persons who have contributed least to causing this problem without the needed resources to confront it is unacceptable.”
Jefferson Shriver, Latin America regional advisor for agro-enterprise and climate change at CRS and a presenter at the conference, offered an example of how his organization must prepare the world’s poor for climate change: “An increase in temperature by 2 degrees Celsius and decreasing rain fall as a result of climate change will have an especially negative effect on small holder coffee farmers. CRS is working in coffee communities in Central America and Mexico to share climate projections with coffee farmers and help them to begin to adapt now through crop diversification, reforestation, and other approaches.”