Catholics and COP26

Artists, Activists and Academics on Climate Justice and the Integrity of Creation

A series of free online events during COP 26.

Watch now (youtube)

Image from Emily James

List of events 

Monday 1st November 2021

Our opening event brings together two women of faith who have dedicated their lives to writing about and reflecting on the care of creation. Multi-award winning nature writer, broadcaster and conservationist, Mary Colwell, author of Beak, Tooth and Claw: Living With Predators in Britain (2001); Curlew Moon (2018); and John Muir: The Scotsman Who Saved America’s Wild Places (2014) will look at the prophetic voices and lasting influence of St Francis of Assisi, John Muir and Pope Francis. Franciscan Sister Professor Dawn Nothwehr offers a close reading and musical rendition of the Canticle of the Creatures and finds within the poetry on the page an enduring wisdom that echoes down the centuries, speaking truth to our present age.

The Catholics and COP26 series of events will be opened by Fr Gerard H. Maguiness, General Secretary of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland and chair of the Bishops’ Care of Creation Office. The event will be chaired by Julie Clague of the University of Glasgow.

Mary Colwell Three Prophetic Voices: Saint Francis of Assisi, John Muir, and Pope Francis

Dawn Nothwehr St. Francis of Assisi's Canticle of the Creatures: A Call for a Moral Imagination of Hope and Praise

Featuring an authentic musical rendition of Francis’ Canticle

Friday 5th November 2021

Climate injustice begets conflict and violence. Such tensions are heightened during public health emergencies such as the covid-19 pandemic. Uruguayan lawyer and human rights activist Carmen

Moreno discusses these linkages in her presentation, while University of Glasgow academic Anna Blackman looks to the possibilities of grassroots acts of creative non-violence in a world of escalating conflict and militarism. Dr Carlos Zepeda, of the Laudato Si’ Research Institute, Oxford University discusses the importance of local faith actors in the climate response and how collaborative networks of grassroots civil society organisations such as the Ecclesial Networks Alliance can raise the visibility of marginalized communities and magnify their campaigning voice.

The event will be chaired by Marian Pallister, chair of Pax Christi Scotland.

Anna Blackman Integral Ecology and Creative Non-violence

Carmen Artigas Moreno Climate Change, COVID and Conflict: The Three Cs Challenging Christians

Carlos Zepeda Laudato Si’, the Ecclesial Networks Alliance and COP26

Saturday 6th November 2021

In Laudato Si’, Pope Francis links the cry of the earth with the cry of the poor. In this event, Zimbabwe-born Dr Nontando Hadebe interrogates the greening agenda and discusses the disproportionate impact of climate change on the lives of poor people, most of whom are women. Celebrated Belgian artist Sr Francoise Bosteels, who has dedicated her life to serving poor communities in India, uses doll-making to narrate the lives of her local villagers, highlight the devastation wreaked by man-made disasters such as Bhopal, and celebrate activists such as the Chipko ‘tree-hugging’ women and campaigners such as Greta Thunberg. Words matter. Belgian ethicist Jan Jans discusses the need to distinguish between the theological term ‘creation’ and the loaded descriptor ‘nature’.

The event will be chaired by Julie Clague of the University of Glasgow.

Sr Françoise Bosteels The celebrated artist discusses her use of dolls to raise awareness of climate injustice

Nontando Hadebe Can Green Be the Colour of Justice? Cop26 and Poverty

Jan Jans ‘The Eager Longing For Creation’ On the Necessary Differentiation Between Nature and Creation

Sunday 7th November. Now or Never - Restoring Our Earth through Play

A creative art response to COP26 using song, story, movement and shared silence. We are intimately connected to Our Earth body and any violation hampers the creative spirit in each of us.

Celebrate our sacred belonging and relationship with Earth.

Featuring Prashant Olalekar SJ, Hazel Lobo, Trish Watts - a collaboration of InterPlayers from India and Australia, an international network of spiritually inspired and environmentally concerned artists-activists.

Monday 8th November 2021

Climate change is hitting Africa hard, exacerbating existing problems and heightening long-standing injustices. In this event, three Africans discuss the problems faced by their communities and the

practical responses that are emerging. Fr Robert Sowa considers the damaging effects of climate change in his native Sierra Leone, a country where the majority of people live in poverty, and he asks whether Churches are doing enough to stand in solidarity with the affected. Fr Charles Chilufya, Director of the Justice and Ecology Office of the Jesuit Conference of Africa and Madagascar and coordinator of the Africa Task Force of the Vatican Covid-19 Commission, looks at the perfect storm created by the impact of the covid-19 pandemic on poor communities already under strain because of the effects of climate change, and how it is girls who suffer the most. The final speaker showcases the creative ingenuity of indigenous African responses to environmental degradation. Kenyan environmental activist and CEO of Green Economy Foundation, Benard Ndaka discusses the work of his Foundation, which promotes the planting of trees by everyday folk, especially to mark major life events and significant milestones.

The event will be chaired by Marian Pallister, chair of Pax Christi Scotland.

Fr Charles Chilufya SJ Covid-19, Climate Change and Poverty: A Toxic Mix for Girls in East and Southern Africa

Benard Ndaka Tree Planting Activism in Kenya

Fr Robert Sowa The Impact of the Climate Change Crisis on the Poor in Sierra Leone: Why the Local Church should Care

Thursday 11th November 2021

This event looks at the way some individuals and communities are more vulnerable to climate impacts than others. As Pope Francis observes in Laudato Si’, where there is environmental and social degradation, the vulnerable are hardest hit. Teresian Sister Veronica Nyoni, headteacher at St Columba’s Community Secondary school Lusaka, Zambia will discuss how drought, failure of hydro power and other climate effects are taking a heavy toll on the women and girls in her community. Indian theologian Kochurani Abraham, author of Persisting Patriarchy: Intersectionalities, Negotiations, Subversions (2019), also adopts a gender lens applying it not only to the climate emergency but to the concept and practices of ecological conversion. Professor Mary Jo Iozzio, author of Disability Ethics/Preferential Justice: A Catholic Perspective (forthcoming with Georgetown University Press) considers the challenges that climate change presents to people with disability and identifies strategies of resistance and resilience.

The event will be chaired by Marian Pallister, chair of Pax Christi Scotland.

Kochurani Abraham Climate Emergency and Ecological Conversion: A Gender Perspective

Mary Jo Iozzio Climate Change and the Vulnerable: People with Disability

Sr Veronica Nyoni Climate Impacts on Women and Girls in Zambia

Friday 12th November 2021. Catholic Voices on Climate Change

Julie Clague of the University of Glasgow looks back at the COP26 conference and presents highlights from the Catholics and COP 26: Artists, Activists and Academics on Climate Justice and the Integrity of Creation series of events.