The United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres delivered a powerful message where he shared that “The current crisis is an unprecedented wake-up call. We need to turn the recovery into a real opportunity to do things right for the future.” He continued by proposing a six-step plan for action. On the same link you will also find the message of General Assembly President Tijjani Muhammad-Bande who wrote that “We will only preserve Mother Earth through a paradigm shift from a human-centric society to an Earth-centred global ecosystem.”
Food, Climate Change, and COVID-19
Geoff Tansey lives in the UK and curates the open education on-line resource the Food Systems Academy and is a member of the Food Ethics Council. In this article he explains how COVID-19 has made it clear that military spending will not keep us safe, which also highlights the impending dangers and impacts of climate change. Tansey calls for a shift from military spending to investments in the resilience of our food systems, biodiversity, and climate.
Geoff Tansey’s books include The Food System: a guide (with Tony Worsley) and co-editorship (with Tasmin Rajotte) of The future control of food – A guide to international negotiations and rules on intellectual property, biodiversity and food security. This latter book came out of work he did as a consultant with QUNO Geneva the Quaker International Affairs Programme of Canadian Quakers. He is an honorary visiting fellow at the Universities of Cardiff, Lancaster and Newcastle and a member of Brighouse West Yorkshire Area Meeting.
Interfaith Statement on Postponement of COP26
A group of interfaith groups working on the international climate negotiations, which this year were supposed to take place in Glasgow, have released a statement regarding its cancellation, as well as speaking on COVID-19 and climate change. The Quaker United Nations Office helped write the statement, and Friends World Committee on Consultation is a signatory.
Climate Change, Energy Transitions, and COVID-19 Lessons
George Rhee, Associate Director NASA Spacegrant Nevada and Physics and Astronomy Professor at University of Nevada Las Vegas and with childhood connections with Geneva Monthly Meeting, has shared a brief video exploring the parallels between responses to climate change and COVID-19, the roles we have in our local communities, and what it would take to transition away from fossil fuels. Rhee has also devised a calculator to assist in what energy transitions might look like.
QUNO Contributions at the 52nd Meeting of the IPCC
QUNO, through the Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC), is the only faith-based observer at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). At the latest IPCC Meeting, held from 24-28 February in Paris, countries negotiated an outline for the Synthesis Report of the upcoming 6th Assessment Report, to be released in 2022.
QUNO’s Representative for Climate Change, Lindsey Fielder Cook, made four interventions during the week, which can be found here, alongside additional information. These related to the addition of (or protecting existing) language on the essential role of civil society/public participation, rights-based approaches to climate action, non-economic losses and loss and damage when calculating ‘costs’, and ‘behavior change’ to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to locked in climate change.
Banking on Climate Change: Financial Institutions and Fossil Fuels
A large coalition led by the Rainforest Action Network, and endorsed by Indigenous peoples, and environmental, human rights, and interfaith groups from around the world, have released a comprehensive report tracking the investments of banks in fossil fuels. The research contains data indicating JP Morgan Chase, closely followed by Wells Fargo and Citi, invest the most in fossil fuels. The report further presents different personal stories and different areas where banks specifically invest their fossil fuel money in, such as the Arctic or tar sands.
Endless Wars, Endless Environmental Harm
Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) has shared powerful research into the connection between climate change and the United States military. FCNL states that “A militaristic lens to climate solutions is not the answer. If the U.S. wants to sincerely address the climate crisis, solutions must be based in humanitarianism and diplomacy, not a larger military footprint.” FCNL also recommends particular actions American citizens can undertake to counter the varied militarized dimensions of climate change and climate action.
Interfaith Draft of Carbon Pricing Principles
Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) has joined an interfaith coalition to draft a set of principles regarding the possible implementation of carbon pricing. These principles, which aim to assist policy makers when drafting carbon pricing mechanisms, focus on stewardship, sustainability, dialogue, and justice and human dignity. More information about carbon pricing, and FCNL’s particular work on it, can be found here.
Statement in Support of a universal Right to a Healthy Environment
QUNO delivered an oral statement at the 43rd session of the UN’s Human Rights Council (HRC), recognizing the work of the UN’s Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment showing how human rights are seriously affected by a degraded environment. QUNO’s statement, delivered by Programme Assistant Detmer Yens Kremer, encouraged the HRC to make “an historic contribution by adopting a resolution recognizing the right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment,” and also emphasized that the time for action is now.
An Unexpected Silence: Quaker Moments at Extinction Rebellion
Friend Brian Wardrop shares thoughts regarding his participation at an extinction rebellion protest in the attached article and elaborates on how Chelmsford Local Meeting engages with Extinction Rebellion;
“We are members of Chelmsford Local Meeting in Essex. Extinction Rebellion Chelmsford (XRC) was formed in February 2019. Several activist Friends in our Meeting joined the movement and, after discussion, Chelmsford Meeting agreed to support them and XRC.
Chelmsford Meeting provides premises for XRC events, as well as for XR Quaker groups passing through that need accommodation, such as a group of Quakers from Norwich cycling to London to join the April Rebellion.
Because Jean and I live so close to London, and are now retired, we have been able to lend our support to actions such as The Time is Now lobby of MPs, and events during the October Rebellion, such as the XR Grandparents rally outside Buckingham Palace.“