Action for Life on Earth Conference 2021Wednesday 28th July 2021
Activists from across England and Wales gathered in Derbyshire last weekend to discuss the future of our planet at this year’s National Justice and Peace Network of England and Wales (NJPN) conference.
Mark Wiggin, voluntary advisor for Caritas Salford, shares his report of the conference:
Two hundred people from every diocese in England and Wales met in Derbyshire between 23 -25 July for Action for Life on Earth 2021 – this year’s annual NJPN conference.
Caritas and the Diocese of Salford played an important part contributing key speakers, including Fr Eamonn Mulcahy (Spiritans), Mark Rotherham (Northern Diocese Environment Group), Dr Emma Gardener (head of environment for the Diocese of Salford), and Bishop John Arnold of Salford.
As lead bishop on the environment for England and Wales, Bishop John said churches and faiths are making clear they want action and “we can mend our common home”.
Meeting virtually with COP26 president Alok Sharma MP, Bishop John has been “trying to speak loudly to politicians” before the summit in November.
In the conference Mass, he thanked the NJPN “for who you are, what you stand for and what you want, and for keeping Pope Francis as an inspiration in our lives and actions.”
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The conference, chaired by CAFOD director Christine Allen, was characterised by the impressive number of young people attending, who spoke passionately about the urgent need for a radical change in behaviour if the Earth is to recover from the damage inflicted on it by those in power.
Fr Eamonn led the Friday evening reflection on Laudato Si’ and Let Us Dream – two inspirational works by Pope Francis on the need to recognise our place in the order of the world and understand the inter-connectedness of creation of which we are only a part of, as creation was for all life.
Speaker Mark Rotherham, of the Northern Dioceses Environmental Group, felt it essential we transform our current economic system so that it promotes both social equality and environmental protection, saying: “A good life-sustaining economy is about slowly down and recognising planetary boundaries”.
He described the arms industry as “a huge shadow over our nation” and felt that we need to withdraw legitimacy from this draw on global resources and energy.
Dr Emma Gardener – who manages the Diocese of Salford’s flagship Laudato Si Centre and stimulates environmental action in Salford’s parishes and schools – explained the national work of the bishops in setting targets for carbon reduction in their dioceses.
To get involved with the Laudato Si’ team, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
With less than 100 days to go until COP26, the NJPN conference has mobilised activists gearing up to the November COP26 climate talks in Glasgow.
Dedicated work and a massive political will is now needed if COP26 is to galvanise the leaders of the world to reduce carbon emissions and increase bio-diversity.