Category Archives: global

Greta Thunberg Addresses Global Elite at Davos: Our House Is Still on Fire

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

An article from Democracy Now (licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License)

The 17-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg delivered a speech Tuesday to the world leaders and global elite gathered in Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum, one year after she first condemned the forum for its inaction on climate change. “We don’t need a ‘low-carbon economy.’ We don’t need to ‘lower emissions.’ Our emissions have to stop,” Thunberg said. “And until we have the technologies that at scale can put our emissions to minus, then we must forget about net zero. We need real zero.”


Video of Thunberg speech

AMY GOODMAN: We end today’s show with the words of a 17-year-old: Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg. She just turned 17 in the last weeks. She addressed world leaders today at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

GRETA THUNBERG: One year ago, I came to Davos and told you that our house is on fire. I said I wanted you to panic. I’ve been warned that telling people to panic about the climate crisis is a very dangerous thing to do. But don’t worry. It’s fine. Trust me. I’ve done this before. And I can assure you: It doesn’t lead to anything.

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Question for this article:

Despite the vested interests of companies and governments, Can we make progress toward sustainable development?

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And for the record, when we children tell you to panic, we’re not telling you to go on like before. We’re not telling you to rely on technologies that don’t even exist today at scale and that science says perhaps never will. We are not telling you to keep talking about reaching net zero emissions or carbon neutrality by cheating and fiddling around with numbers. We’re not telling you to offset your emissions by just paying someone else to plant trees in places like Africa, while at the same time forests like the Amazon are being slaughtered at an infinitely higher rate. Planting trees is good, of course, but it’s nowhere near enough of what is needed, and it cannot replace real mitigation and rewilding nature.

And let’s be clear: We don’t need a low-carbon economy. We don’t need to lower emissions. Our emissions have to stop, if we are to have a chance to stay below the 1.5-degree target. And until we have the technologies that at scale can put our emissions to minus, then we must forget about net zero. We need real zero, because distant net-zero emission targets will mean absolutely nothing if we just continue to ignore the carbon dioxide budget that applies for today, not distant future dates. If high emissions continue like now even for a few years, that remaining budget will soon be completely used up.

The fact that the U.S.A. is leaving the Paris accord seemed to outrage and worry everyone. And it should. But the fact that we are all about to fail the commitments you signed up for in the Paris Agreement doesn’t seem to bother the people in power even the least. Any plan or policy of yours that doesn’t include radical emission cuts at the source starting today is completely insufficient for meeting the 1.5- or well below 2-degree commitments of the Paris Agreement.

And again, this is not about right or left. We couldn’t care less about your party politics. From a sustainability perspective, the right, the left, as well as the center, have all failed. No political ideology or economic structure has been able to tackle the climate and environmental emergency and create a cohesive and sustainable world, because that world, in case you haven’t noticed, is currently on fire.

AMY GOODMAN: Seventeen-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg addressing world leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. She spoke just after President Trump spoke at the gathering, touting the economy but not talking about the climate crisis, which is the focus of the World Economic Forum, the World Economic Forum in Davos. That does it for our show. We’ll post her whole speech online.

(Thank you to Phyllis Kotite, the CPNN reporter for this article.)

UNWomen: In lead up to Generation Equality Forum, Action Coalition themes announced

. WOMEN’S EQUALITY .

An article from UN Women

Today, UN Women, together with feminists across the world, and the Governments of Mexico and France, announced the  Action Coalition  themes for the Generation Equality Forum  to be held in Mexico City and Paris this year.


UN Women staff during Generation Equality Private Sector discussions in Kenya. Photo: UN Women/Kennedy Okoth

The Action Coalitions are global, innovative partnerships with governments, civil society, international organizations, and the private sector, to catalyze collective action, drive increased public and private investment, and deliver game-changing results for women and girls everywhere.

The Generation Equality Forum, a civil society-led global gathering convened by UN Women and co-hosted by the Governments of Mexico and France, taking place in Mexico City from 7 to 8 May, and in Paris from 7 to 10 July 2020, will launch the following six catalytic Action Coalitions:

1. Gender-Based Violence
2. Economic justice and rights
3. Bodily autonomy and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR)
4. Feminist action for climate justice
5. Technology and innovation for gender equality
6. Feminist movements and leadership

The six themes were based on data-driven analysis and selected in consultation with international feminist groups, grassroots activist organizations, governments and other partners.

The Generation Equality Forum is taking place in the context of the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the most comprehensive blueprint for achieving gender equality and women’s rights, adopted by 189 countries in 1995.

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Question for this article

Does the UN advance equality for women?

Prospects for progress in women’s equality, what are the short and long term prospects?

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Despite some progress, real change has been slow, and no country has achieved gender equality.As the world faces unprecedented challenges, including climate crisis, rising inequality and threat to multilateralism, progress on girls’ and women’s rights is at risk.

The Action Coalitions, backed with financing and impactful partnerships, aim to make accelerated and irreversible progress to advance gender equality.
Each Action Coalition will be led by a group of partners, including: Member States, women’s movements and civil society organizations and the private sector, as well as UN agencies, other international organizations and youth leaders. 
Adolescent girls and young women are at the heart of Generation Equality, lifting up those who have been silenced, stigmatized and shamed far too long, and ensuring that no one is left behind. One of the concrete actions in each Action Coalition theme will specifically target the unique needs of adolescent girls and young women. 

Each Coalition will develop and implement targeted solutions that advance the rights of adolescent girls and young women during the UN Decade of Action  (2020 – 2030) to fulfill the Sustainable Development Goals.

In the coming months, the formation of Action Coalition leadership and membership will be advanced, as well as the development of “Blueprints” accompanying each Action Coalition, which will detail the expected goals, results, budget, a catalogue of commitments and the accountability framework.The upcoming UN Commission on the Status of Women  (9 – 20 March) and the Generation Equality Forum in Mexico (7-8 May) will provide opportunities for partners to come together and further elaborate upon the Action Coalition Blueprints.

The Action Coalitions will be officially launched during the Generation Equality Forum from 7 to10 July in Paris, and further amplified at the UN General Assembly in September 2020. 

For more information on Generation Equality Forum and the Action Coalitions, click here. Get involved and join the global campaign, #GenerationEquality  to make gender equality a reality within our lifetimes.

BlackRock goes green? Investment giant joins Climate Action 100+ amid controversy

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

An article by Toby Hill from Green Biz

BlackRock became the latest signatory to Climate Action 100+, adding the substantial weight of its $6.8 trillion in assets under management to the investor engagement initiative that works to ensure the world’s largest corporate greenhouse gas emitters take action on climate change.

BlackRock joins 370 global investors already signed up to the scheme, bringing total assets under management by those participating to over $41 billion.

As signatories, investors commit to engaging with companies on a range of climate-related fronts. The group typically has called on firms to take bolder steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, implement a strong governance framework for managing climate-related risks and opportunities, and provide enhanced corporate disclosure in line with the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).

“BlackRock is one of the largest and most influential asset managers in the world and will bring even more heft to investor engagement through Climate Action 100+,” said Emily Chew, steering committee chair at Climate Action 100+. “We look forward to working with BlackRock to build on the initiative’s success and work to ensure companies take the urgent and necessary action needed in response to the climate crisis.”

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Question for this article:

Divestment: is it an effective tool to promote sustainable development?

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BlackRock’s decision to join the group builds on a series of recent statements on the importance of climate action from the influential investment giant.

CEO Larry Fink has highlighted “climate change” and “environmental risks and opportunities” as key engagement priorities in both his 2018  and 2019 letters to CEOs. The firm also  strengthened its proxy voting guidelines (PDF)  regarding climate change in January 2019.

Joining Climate Action 100+ “is a natural progression of the work our investment stewardship team has done,” BlackRock told Bloomberg in an emailed statement. “We believe evidence of the impact of climate risk on investment portfolios is building rapidly and we are accelerating our engagement with companies on this critical issue,” the firm added.

However, the U.S. investment giant also has faced criticism for sometimes failing to take concrete action on climate change when opportunities have presented themselves. Sustainability non-profit Ceres last year ranked BlackRock 43 among 48 asset managers in a green investment league table, finding it had backed just one in 10 climate-related proposals from shareholders. Indeed, in the past the firm has voted against shareholder proposals brought about by ClimateAction 100+ itself. Such inaction led former U.S. Vice President Al Gore to recently accuse the firm of being “full of greenwash.”

Climate finance experts welcomed BlackRock’s decision to join the group while emphasizing that the company had to work effectively with Climate Action 100+ to encourage more companies to develop ambitious climate strategies.

“Given the immediate need for companies, particularly in the fossil fuel heavy energy sector, to produce Paris-consistent transition plans, Blackrock’s support has just come at the right time,” said Carbon Tracker chairman Mark Campanale. “The challenge now is to see a ‘high bar’ on climate disclosure followed, as well as business alignment by fossil fuel companies such as Exxon, on the goals of the Paris agreement. Blackrock needs to lend its voice to the many involved in CA100+ calling for no new investment in expanding fossil fuel production.”

Book review: Cultural Diplomacy: No Bullet, No Blood

EDUCATION FOR PEACE .

From: Jay Holdings

“Emerging from financial crisis, world faces growing social inequality, mass immigration, diverse populations, extremism, radicalization, and various forms of threats. Disruptive strategies, expansion of technology and digital communication are transforming societies – changing lifestyles and consumer behavior, which is affecting the balance of economic power, stability, and world order. In such changing and volatile environment, the role of culture is more important than ever.” – Mosi Dorbayani, Author


 

Question for this article:

What are the most important books about the culture of peace?

This publication is a concise researched based material, which shares a multidimensional factual evidence on the influence and effectiveness of the subject matter worldwide. It furnishes its readers with the concept of ‘Cultural Diplomacy’, and it redefines the strategic thinking and applications of arts and culture for public engagement and public diplomacy.

Where to buy the book.

Mainstream media silence on OPCW Douma scandal ‘ridiculous’, says journalist gagged by Newsweek after scandalous leak

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION

An article from RT news dated 28 December

The refusal of almost every Western media outlet to cover the leaks [published by Wikileaks] implicating the chemical weapons watchdog of doctoring its Syria report has become ridiculous, says a journalist who was barred from reporting it by Newsweek.


A damaged house where OPCW inspectors are believed to have visited in Douma in April 2018. ©REUTERS / Ali Hashisho

The refusal of almost every Western media outlet to cover the leaks [published by Wikileaks] implicating the chemical weapons watchdog of doctoring its Syria report has become ridiculous, says a journalist who was barred from reporting it by Newsweek.

“These documents are very conclusive in what they show,” Tareq Haddad told RT after the latest release of internal emails from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) on Friday. The latest batch indicated an effort by the OPCW management to silence dissenting voices and cover up the very fact that there was evidence contradicting the West-favored narrative about the April 2018 incident in Douma, Syria.

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Question related to this article:
 
Free flow of information, How is it important for a culture of peace?

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The OPCW report stopped short of accusing the government of President Bashar Assad of dropping chemical weapons on the Damascus neighborhood, which was held by jihadists at the time, and killing scores of civilians. It gave a post-factum rationale for airstrikes conducted by the US, the UK and France in the wake of the incident.

He told RT the point when the story could be legitimately reported came several weeks ago, so the continued media obfuscation “has reached the point where it’s a bit ridiculous,” and amounts to abdication of responsibility to inform the public.

“I’m sure there are hundreds if not thousands of well-meaning journalists, who understand what the essence of journalism is. I am sure they want to write this story,” he said. “All I can say is: please, push this story. Even though I have resigned I don’t want the mainstream media to be dismissed as ‘fake news’. I want it to be respected.”

[Editor’s note: As of 31 December, a search in Google reveals many Internet publications have referred to the reports published in Twitter by Wikileaks about the OPCW cover-up. These include publications based in Russia, Iran, Turkey, Lebanon and Portugal, as well as numerous alternative media (but no major commercial media) based in the UK, Canada and USA.]

International Peace Bureau: the ‘carbon boot-print’

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

An information paper by Jessica Fort and Philipp Straub from the International Peace Bureau and a press release from the IPB

The US military is not only the most funded army in the world, it is also “one of the largest polluters in history, consuming more liquid fuels and emitting more climate-changing gases than most medium-sized countries”. The Department of Defence’s daily consumption alone is greater than the total national consumption of countries like Sweden, Switzerland or Chile. And the US has been continuously at war, or engaged in military actions, since late 2001.

War and militarism, and their associated ‘carbon boot-prints’, are severely accelerating climate change. However, the military’s significant contribution to climate change has still received little attention. It is not only the US army that has a severe impact on climate change, Europe’s military is also running its bases and its various operations and contributing to the rise in carbon emissions. However, obtaining accurate data about any form of military energy consumption is very difficult.

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Question for this article:

What is the relation between the environment and peace

Despite the vested interests of companies and governments, Can we make progress toward sustainable development?

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The entire IPB Information Paper by Jessica Fort and Philipp Straub is available here: IPB Information Paper – the carbon boot-print

IPB stresses the COP25 to include the military in its climate action work and to adopt provisions covering military compliance. The COP25 must include military emissions in their calculations and the CO2 emissions laundering has to stop. It should also include a blueprint to reduce military emissions.

IPB urges the State Parties to the Paris Agreement to adjust its provision to military emissions, not leaving decisions up to nation states as to which national sectors should make emissions cuts.

IPB calls for an inclusion of military greenhouse gas emission into climate change regulations. Moreover, countries need to be obliged, without exemption, to cut military emissions and transparently report them.

IPB calls for more academic studies (in line with the study from Brown University report) and an IPCC or equal special report. The report needs to be a common project of academics and the civil society. [Crawford N (2019). Pentagon Fuel Use, Climate Change, and the Costs of War. Brown University, USA ]

UN committee adopts youth resolution on disarmament and non-proliferation

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION

An article by Marzhan Nurzhan in the Astana Times

The First Committee of the United Nations General Assembly at its recent 74th session adopted the resolution Youth, Disarmament and Non-Proliferation.

The resolution recognises the role of young people as key agents for social change and acknowledges the positive contributions of youth engagement to sustainable peace and security.

There were two resolutions previously adopted by the United Nations Security Council highlighting the importance of engaging youth in processes related to peace and security:  resolution 2250 (2015) on youth, peace and security, and resolution 2419 (2018) on the role of youth in peace negotiations and implementing peace agreements.

Furthermore, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres released a non-paper entitled Securing Our Common Future: An Agenda for Disarmament, where the role of young people as drivers of change was emphasised, along with the need for sustainability and long-term engagement of youth and further investment in disarmament education. Inequalities connected with geographical location of youth coming from developing countries can limit access or create barriers towards representative participation in the international opportunities in the field of disarmament and non-proliferation.

Despite these challenges, young people are open to new experiences, use creativity to generate novel ideas, have enduring energy, pursue high levels of cooperation and regard themselves as world citizens standing up for one planet. They believe in a common future and simultaneously seek opportunity for actions at local and national levels. Young people can be identified as more inclusive, cosmopolitan, with solution-oriented mindsets. They also promote impactful activities that affect the well-being of everyone.

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Question(s) related to this article:

Youth initiatives for a culture of peace, How can we ensure they get the attention and funding they deserve?

What is the United Nations doing for a culture of peace?

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Climate change is now included as mandatory subject in formal learning process in Italy. This could serve as an example to follow by incorporating the theme of disarmament and non-proliferation in public education. However, non-formal education and online courses have changed the way we obtain, apply, and disseminate knowledge. These approaches have also altered practice we reach out to young people worldwide, especially in the specific area of disarmament and non-proliferation. It is important to raise awareness about the history of nuclear testing and humanitarian consequences, which is mainly associated with the Cold War. For that reason, fostering intergenerational cooperation and promoting peer-to-peer distribution of information, knowledge and skills are crucial.

Thus, the resolution “stresses the importance of realizing the full potential of young people through education and capacity-building, bearing in mind the ongoing efforts and the need to promote the sustainable entry of young people into the field of disarmament and non-proliferation.”

Therefore, CTBTO Youth Group (CYG) prior to the adoption of the resolution established this network to involve youth in a constructive and inclusive manner, considering regional balance. CYG equips next generation with extra-curricular education, such as e-learning modules  about the CTBT and its verification regime. In addition, CYG portal provides supplementary lists of educational resources  that comprise not only information about nuclear issues but also other weapons of mass destruction. CYG members have opportunity to participate in a meaningful way at the various international events, in particular the Science and Technology conference series and the Science Diplomacy Symposia. At these events, CYG members can enjoy mentorship networks with GEM filling the generational gap in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation.

Empowering youth through education means promoting leadership and courage to build presence and future we want without nuclear tests and explosions. Research and development of innovative initiatives can lead to the transformative changes for global peace and security through science and diplomacy with the direct impact and influence of actions  conducted by young people. With the adoption of the resolution Youth, Disarmament and Non-Proliferation, it re-affirms work and endeavour of the CTBTO Youth Group and serves as an impetus for even more youth engagement to finish what we started.

Full text of the resolution is available at https://undocs.org/en/A/C.1/74/L.48

List of educational resources: https://youthgroup.ctbto.org/node/2237

The author is an intern, External Relations, Protocol and International Cooperation Section, Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO). This opinion first appeared at CTBTO Youth Group website here.

[Editor’s note: The resolution was drafted by South Korea.

Global Campaign for Peace Education: Year-end review

… EDUCATION FOR PEACE …

An article from the Global Campaign for Peace Education

Dear reader, Season’s Greetings! As fall turns to winter here in Washington, DC, we are fond of reminiscing on the many changes and experiences we’ve had thus far in 2019.


Amongst the highlights, we held a big celebration to honor the 90th birthday of Betty Reardon, co-founder of the Global Campaign; we helped launch advocacy campaigns in Cameroon and Nigeria; and we kicked-off Peace Knowledge Press, our new publishing house.

To wind down the year, I just returned from Ukraine where I joined colleagues from the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) Peace Education Working Group to strategize efforts for scaling up peace education from the grassroots to the country level. The Global Campaign will be partnering with GPPAC on an ambitious new project in 2020 to help map the field of peace education – stay tuned for more details!

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Question for this article:

Where is peace education taking place?

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Be sure to check out and share the many new events and job postings shared below. As always, we welcome you to submit your own news, articles, research, and events to share with other campaign members. You can submit your articles for sharing via our online form.

All-in-all, energy continues to bubble up around the world for mainstreaming peace education. We hope you find the actions of our colleagues contained in this month’s newsletter hopeful, and contagious, and embark on new efforts to develop and grow peace education in your community.

Please don’t forget to help us “spread peace ed” by using the hashtags #SpreadPeaceEd and #PeaceEd, following us on social media, and by sharing and reposting news on your timeline and in your communities. This is one small way each of us can help grow the campaign. You can also follow the Global Campaign on Facebook and Twitter.

In peace & solidarity,

Tony Jenkins

Coordinator, Global Campaign for Peace Education

Message of His Holiness Pope Francis for the celebration of the 53rd World Day of Peace, January 1, 2020

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION .      

A transcript from the Vatican

Peace As A Journey Of Hope: Dialogue, Reconciliation And Ecological Conversion
 
1. Peace, a journey of hope in the face of obstacles and trial

Peace is a great and precious value, the object of our hope and the aspiration of the entire human family. As a human attitude, our hope for peace is marked by an existential tension that makes it possible for the present, with all its difficulties, to be “lived and accepted if it leads towards a goal, if we can be sure of this goal, and if this goal is great enough to justify the effort of the journey.  Hope is thus the virtue that inspires us and keeps us moving forward, even when obstacles seem insurmountable.

Our human community bears, in its memory and its flesh, the scars of ever more devastating wars and conflicts that affect especially the poor and the vulnerable. Entire nations find it difficult to break free of the chains of exploitation and corruption that fuel hatred and violence. Even today, dignity, physical integrity, freedom, including religious freedom, communal solidarity and hope in the future are denied to great numbers of men and women, young and old. Many are the innocent victims of painful humiliation and exclusion, sorrow and injustice, to say nothing of the trauma born of systematic attacks on their people and their loved ones.

The terrible trials of internal and international conflicts, often aggravated by ruthless acts of violence, have an enduring effect on the body and soul of humanity. Every war is a form of fratricide that destroys the human family’s innate vocation to brotherhood.

War, as we know, often begins with the inability to accept the diversity of others, which then fosters attitudes of aggrandizement and domination born of selfishness and pride, hatred and the desire to caricature, exclude and even destroy the other. War is fueled by a perversion of relationships, by hegemonic ambitions, by abuses of power, by fear of others and by seeing diversity as an obstacle. And these, in turn, are aggravated by the experience of war.

As I observed during my recent Apostolic Journey to Japan, our world is paradoxically marked by “a perverse dichotomy that tries to defend and ensure stability and peace through a false sense of security sustained by a mentality of fear and mistrust, one that ends up poisoning relationships between peoples and obstructing any form of dialogue. Peace and international stability are incompatible with attempts to build upon the fear of mutual destruction or the threat of total annihilation. They can be achieved only on the basis of a global ethic of solidarity and cooperation in the service of a future shaped by interdependence and shared responsibility in the whole human family of today and tomorrow”.

Every threatening situation feeds mistrust and leads people to withdraw into their own safety zone. Mistrust and fear weaken relationships and increase the risk of violence, creating a vicious circle that can never lead to a relationship of peace. Even nuclear deterrence can only produce the illusion of security.

We cannot claim to maintain stability in the world through the fear of annihilation, in a volatile situation, suspended on the brink of a nuclear abyss and enclosed behind walls of indifference. As a result, social and economic decisions are being made that lead to tragic situations where human beings and creation itself are discarded rather than protected and preserved. How, then, do we undertake a journey of peace and mutual respect? How do we break the unhealthy mentality of threats and fear? How do we break the current dynamic of distrust?

We need to pursue a genuine fraternity based on our common origin from God and exercised in dialogue and mutual trust. The desire for peace lies deep within the human heart, and we should not resign ourselves to seeking anything less than this.

2. Peace, a journey of listening based on memory, solidarity and fraternity

The Hibakusha, the survivors of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, are among those who currently keep alive the flame of collective conscience, bearing witness to succeeding generations to the horror of what happened in August 1945 and the unspeakable sufferings that have continued to the present time. Their testimony awakens and preserves the memory of the victims, so that the conscience of humanity may rise up in the face of every desire for dominance and destruction. “We cannot allow present and future generations to lose the memory of what happened here. It is a memory that ensures and encourages the building of a more fair and fraternal future”.

Like the Hibakusha, many people in today’s world are working to ensure that future generations will preserve the memory of past events, not only in order to prevent the same errors or illusions from recurring, but also to enable memory, as the fruit of experience, to serve as the basis and inspiration for present and future decisions to promote peace.

What is more, memory is the horizon of hope. Many times, in the darkness of wars and conflicts, the remembrance of even a small gesture of solidarity received can lead to courageous and even heroic decisions. It can unleash new energies and kindle new hope in individuals and communities.

Setting out on a journey of peace is a challenge made all the more complex because the interests at stake in relationships between people, communities and nations, are numerous and conflicting. We must first appeal to people’s moral conscience and to personal and political will. Peace emerges from the depths of the human heart and political will must always be renewed, so that new ways can be found to reconcile and unite individuals and communities.

The world does not need empty words but convinced witnesses, peacemakers who are open to a dialogue that rejects exclusion or manipulation. In fact, we cannot truly achieve peace without a convinced dialogue between men and women who seek the truth beyond ideologies and differing opinions. Peace “must be built up continually”; it is a journey made together in constant pursuit of the common good, truthfulness and respect for law. Listening to one another can lead to mutual understanding and esteem, and even to seeing in an enemy the face of a brother or sister.

The peace process thus requires enduring commitment. It is a patient effort to seek truth and justice, to honour the memory of victims and to open the way, step by step, to a shared hope stronger than the desire for vengeance. In a state based on law, democracy can be an important paradigm of this process, provided it is grounded in justice and a commitment to protect the rights of every person, especially the weak and marginalized, in a constant search for truth.[6] This is a social undertaking, an ongoing work in which each individual makes his or her contribution responsibly, at every level of the local, national and global community.

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Questions related to this article:

Where in the world can we find good leadership today?

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As Saint Paul VI pointed out, these “two aspirations, to equality and to participation, seek to promote a democratic society… This calls for an education to social life, involving not only the knowledge of each person’s rights, but also its necessary correlative: the recognition of his or her duties with regard to others. The sense and practice of duty are themselves conditioned by the capacity for self-mastery and by the acceptance of responsibility and of the limits placed upon the freedom of individuals or the groups”.

Divisions within a society, the increase of social inequalities and the refusal to employ the means of ensuring integral human development endanger the pursuit of the common good. Yet patient efforts based on the power of the word and of truth can help foster a greater capacity for compassion and creative solidarity.

In our Christian experience, we constantly remember Christ, who gave his life to reconcile us to one another (cf. Rom 5:6-11). The Church shares fully in the search for a just social order; she continues to serve the common good and to nourish the hope for peace by transmitting Christian values and moral teaching, and by her social and educational works.

3. Peace, a journey of reconciliation in fraternal communion

The Bible, especially in the words of the Prophets, reminds individuals and peoples of God’s covenant with humanity, which entails renouncing our desire to dominate others and learning to see one another as persons, sons and daughters of God, brothers and sisters. We should never encapsulate others in what they may have said or done, but value them for the promise that they embody. Only by choosing the path of respect can we break the spiral of vengeance and set out on the journey of hope.

We are guided by the Gospel passage that tells of the following conversation between Peter and Jesus: “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven” (Mt 18:21-22). This path of reconciliation is a summons to discover in the depths of our heart the power of forgiveness and the capacity to acknowledge one another as brothers and sisters. When we learn to live in forgiveness, we grow in our capacity to become men and women of peace.

What is true of peace in a social context is also true in the areas of politics and the economy, since peace permeates every dimension of life in common. There can be no true peace unless we show ourselves capable of developing a more just economic system. As Pope Benedict XVI said ten years ago in his Encyclical Letter Caritas in Veritate, “in order to defeat underdevelopment, action is required not only on improving exchange-based transactions and implanting public welfare structures, but above all on graduallyincreasing openness, in a world context, to forms of economic activity marked by quotas of gratuitousness and communion” (No. 39).

4. Peace, a journey of ecological conversion

“If a mistaken understanding of our own principles has at times led us to justify mistreating nature, to exercise tyranny over creation, to engage in war, injustice and acts of violence, we believers should acknowledge that by so doing we were not faithful to the treasures of wisdom which we have been called to protect and preserve”.

Faced with the consequences of our hostility towards others, our lack of respect for our common home or our abusive exploitation of natural resources – seen only as a source of immediate profit, regardless of local communities, the common good and nature itself – we are in need of an ecological conversion. The recent Synod on the Pan-Amazon Region moves us to make a pressing renewed call for a peaceful relationship between communities and the land, between present and past, between experience and hope.

This journey of reconciliation also calls for listening and contemplation of the world that God has given us as a gift to make our common home. Indeed, natural resources, the many forms of life and the earth itself have been entrusted to us “to till and keep” (Gen 1:15), also for future generations, through the responsible and active participation of everyone. We need to change the way we think and see things, and to become more open to encountering others and accepting the gift of creation, which reflects the beauty and wisdom of its Creator.

All this gives us deeper motivation and a new way to dwell in our common home, to accept our differences, to respect and celebrate the life that we have received and share, and to seek living conditions and models of society that favour the continued flourishing of life and the development of the common good of the entire human family.

The ecological conversion for which we are appealing will lead us to a new way of looking at life, as we consider the generosity of the Creator who has given us the earth and called us to a share it in joy and moderation. This conversion must be understood in an integral way, as a transformation of how we relate to our sisters and brothers, to other living beings, to creation in all its rich variety and to the Creator who is the origin and source of all life. For Christians, it requires that “the effects of their encounter with Jesus Christ become evident in their relationship with the world around them”.

5. “We obtain all that we hope for”

The journey of reconciliation calls for patience and trust. Peace will not be obtained unless it is hoped for.

In the first place, this means believing in the possibility of peace, believing that others need peace just as much as we do. Here we can find inspiration in the love that God has for each of us: a love that is liberating, limitless, gratuitous and tireless.

Fear is frequently a source of conflict. So it is important to overcome our human fears and acknowledge that we are needy children in the eyes of the One who loves us and awaits us, like the father of the prodigal son (cf. Lk 15:11-24). The culture of fraternal encounter shatters the culture of conflict. It makes of every encounter a possibility and a gift of God’s generous love. It leads us beyond the limits of our narrow horizons and constantly encourages us to a live in a spirit of universal fraternity, as children of the one heavenly Father.

For the followers of Christ, this journey is likewise sustained by the sacrament of Reconciliation, given by the Lord for the remission of sins of the baptized. This sacrament of the Church, which renews individuals and communities, bids us keep our gaze fixed on Jesus, who reconciled “all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross” (Col 1:20). It requires us to set aside every act of violence in thought, word and deed, whether against our neighbours or against God’s creation.

The grace of God our Father is bestowed as unconditional love. Having received his forgiveness in Christ, we can set out to offer that peace to the men and women of our time. Day by day, the Holy Spirit prompts in us ways of thinking and speaking that can make us artisans of justice and peace.

May the God of peace bless us and come to our aid.

May Mary, Mother of the Prince of Peace and Mother of all the peoples of the earth, accompany and sustain us at every step of our journey of reconciliation.

And may all men and women who come into this world experience a life of peace and develop fully the promise of life and love dwelling in their heart.

From the Vatican, 8 December 2019

At Major March in Madrid, Indigenous & Youth Activists Slam Global Leaders for Climate Inaction

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

A broadcast by Democracy Now (licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.)

We broadcast from Madrid, Spain, where the 25th United Nations climate conference is in its second week and representatives from almost 200 countries have gathered for the final days of negotiations. The summit — known as COP25, or conference of parties — has so far focused on meeting the 2015 Paris Agreement to limit global temperature rise to “well below 2 degrees Celsius,” or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. But climate scientists say the talks are failing to produce the drastic measures necessary to address the climate crisis. Since the Paris Agreement four years ago, greenhouse gas emissions have risen by 4%, and this year’s summit shows no sign of arresting that trend.


Full video of broadcast

On Friday, as hundreds of thousands prepared to take to the streets of Madrid in protest, Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg told reporters that the global climate strikes have “not translated into action” by governments. Protesters then marched through Madrid’s city center Friday night in a massive climate demonstration led by indigenous leaders and youth activists. Democracy Now! was there in the streets.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re broadcasting from inside the United Nations Climate Change Conference here in Madrid, Spain, where representatives from almost 200 countries have gathered for the final days of negotiations. The climate summit, known as COP25 for “conference of parties,” has so far focused on meeting the 2015 Paris Agreement to limit global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius — that’s 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. But climate scientists say the talks are failing to take the drastic measures necessary to address the climate crisis. Since the Paris Agreement four years ago, greenhouse gas emissions have risen by 4%, and this year’s summit shows no sign of arresting that trend. On Friday, as hundreds of thousands prepared to take to the streets of Madrid in protest, 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg addressed reporters.

GRETA THUNBERG: We have been striking now for over a year, and still basically nothing has happened. The climate crisis is still being ignored by those in power. And we cannot go on like this. It is not a sustainable solution that children skip school. We cannot go on like that. So, we don’t want to continue, so we would love some action from the people in power, I mean, because people are suffering and dying from the climate and ecological emergency today, and we cannot wait any longer.

AMY GOODMAN: Protesters then marched through Madrid’s city center Friday night in a massive climate demonstration led by indigenous leaders and youth activists. Democracy Now! was there in the streets.

PROTESTERS: ¡Ni una especie menos, ni un grado más! ¡Ni una especie menos, ni un grado más!

VIDYA DINKER: My name is Vidya. I’m from India, the south of India, a coastal community. Coastal communities across Asia are now, you know, getting that bad end of the stick because of the climate emergency. We are here to speak for our people. We know that our governments and everybody in the U.N. is now being controlled by lobbyists with oil companies and fossil fuel companies. This cannot be. We need to cut through, and we need to see that the voice of the people is heard here. There must be a loss and damage fund so that people can cope with climate emergencies.

PROTESTERS: What do we want? Climate justice! When do we want it? Now!

(article continued in right column)

Question for this article:

Sustainable Development Summits of States, What are the results?

Despite the vested interests of companies and governments, Can we make progress toward sustainable development?

Are we seeing the dawn of a global youth movement?

(Article continued from the left column)

GODWIN OJO: I’m Godwin Ojo. I’m from Nigeria, Environmental Rights Action, Friends of the Earth. We are here to stop corporate power. We are here to stop corporate capture of the state, corporate capture of the United Nations, corporate capture of resources. And we want to make the voices of local communities all over the world to count, and to put an end to climate change. Nigeria is highly impacted. All over the south, there is flooding. A lot of people are dying from climate change. And now the farmers are not able to plant because there is rainfall problems in Nigeria.

TA’KAIYA BLANEY: My name is Ta’Kaiya Blaney. I’m from the Tla’amin Nation, which is located in lands illegally occupied by Canada. And I’m here because indigenous youth are on the forefront of climate change. And the climate solutions being proposed by our government are a continuation of indigenous genocide. In the Wet’suwet’en territory, we have Coastal Gaslink invading those homelands and forcibly removing indigenous people from their ancestral territories for LNG, which is, according to these governments, a climate solution because it’s a transition from coal. So we’re here to say that, like, climate solutions and the fight for climate change has to be a fight for indigenous peoples, and it has to be a fight for indigenous rights, because, as indigenous youth, we don’t have a choice to act. This is about our survival.

PROTESTERS: What do we want? Climate justice! When do we want it? Now! What do we want? Climate justice! When do we want it? Now!

JUAN PABLO ORREGO: I’m Juan Pablo Orrego from Chile. And we are marching for fighting climate change and also for, you know, the stop of the repression in Chile, where people are getting hurt. And we are walking for deep changes in our economic systems so we stop hurting the environment and harming people. Chile is a country that is extremely vulnerable to climate change for geographical reasons. You know, we have the driest desert in the world, in the north. So we are being affected severely. We have a desertification process happening in three-quarters of the country. It’s very severe. The river that feeds water to Santiago de Chile has lost 50% of its flow in the last decade. That’s how serious this is. And, you know, this is the 25th conference, and nothing has changed. They have been talking for 25 years, a quarter of a century, and nothing has changed, really, in the ground, and carbon dioxide keeps rising in the atmosphere. So, when are we going to really act — you know, the governments — to change things in the ground? If you go to the COP, the official COP, you’re going to see that all the companies that are guilty for the situation we are in today are sponsoring the COP. So it’s a very powerful greenwashing.

PROTESTERS: ¡Ni un grado más, ni una especie menos! ¡Ni un grado más, ni una especie menos!

ALETHEA PHILLIPS: [speaking Omaha-Ponca] Hello. My name is Alethea Phillips. I’m from the Omaha Tribe of Nebraska. I’m here with SustainUS’ first-ever all-indigenous youth delegation to attend the U.N. climate negotiations. It’s really powerful for all these indigenous people to be coming here to Spain, somewhere that was — that has impacted us so heavily by colonization and the continuation of colonization in the climate crisis. For us, a lot of people at COP, these countries, they have never learned how to live sustainably. They’ve always been based upon a system that takes and needs more and more, whereas indigenous people, like, our traditions have always been sustainable, and because of colonization, that’s been taken away from us. So, for us to be here, it’s not so much that we’re trying to learn how to live sustainably. We’ve always been protectors of the land. We’ve always worked with nature, not against it. So, going forward, it’s really important that we really look to indigenous people as leaders of the climate movement, and not just victims.

TOM GOLDTOOTH: We’re here to build solidarity. We’re here to stand in support of the people of Chile. We’re here to support the people of Colombia and Ecuador and Brazil who are fighting climate capitalism. We have to stand together with the people of the streets and of the forests and the land and the oceans, fighting neoliberalism, fighting imperialism. We’re fighting against the United States and its white supremacy, militarization. We have to look at these things and stand together in solidarity with the people.

AMY GOODMAN: That last voice, Tom Goldtooth, executive director of the Indigenous Environmental Network.