Pope Francis Urges Global Leaders to Address Climate Crisis Impacting Vulnerable Communities in Pacific Islands

Pope Francis Urges Global Leaders to Address Climate Crisis Impacting Vulnerable Communities in Pacific Islands

In the Pacific island nations, about 75% of the population is grappling with the aftermath of natural disasters, according to a recent report by the United Nations Development Programme.

The report also warns that climate change, often overlooked in the region, poses a severe threat.

Young people and future generations face losing their homes, cultural roots, and job opportunities to rising sea levels, which could surge by 10 to 23 inches by 2050.

Pope Francis’s Advocacy

Pope Francis has been a steadfast voice for environmental stewardship and human development throughout his papacy.

His encyclical Laudato Si’ (2015) and apostolic exhortation Laudate Deum (2023) highlight the urgency of caring for our planet and its people.

He has urged world leaders at the U.N. General Assembly and COP conferences to address climate change’s escalating toll on vulnerable communities.

Vatican’s Call to Action

At the “Oceania Speaks” event, Archbishop Paul Gallagher, speaking on behalf of the Vatican, echoed Pope Francis’s concerns.

He emphasized the pressing need for a global response to combat climate change, particularly in safeguarding those facing hunger, exploitation, and poverty due to its effects.

Local Voices from Oceania

Sister Philomena Waira of the Institute of Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea shared firsthand accounts at “Oceania Speaks.”

She highlighted the devastating impacts of foreign mining and logging in Papua New Guinea, which have disrupted traditional ways of life.

Waira pointed out how these activities have led to environmental degradation, affecting agriculture, fishing, and local wildlife.

In essence, these testimonies underscore the urgent need for international cooperation and action to mitigate climate change’s profound impact on vulnerable regions like Oceania.

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