The member bishops of the Episcopal Conference of the Pacific have issued a letter concerning the climate crisis, speaking “from the ocean” to communicate “the prophetic and pastoral voice of the Churches regarding the threats that climate change imposes on the vulnerable Oceania Island peoples.”
In this letter they express how the 43.2 million people living in Oceania are severely affected on a daily basis by the consequences of the climate crisis, especially with the rising sea levels and the depletion of resources. The states’ weak economies make them vulnerable to exploitation by economic powers.
“Mining and extractive companies carry out businesses that destroy the environment and deny our peoples’ livelihood,” they say, referring to industries such as gravel and black sand extraction, deep sea mining, logging and fishing.
The bishops recalled that “the 52nd Pacific Islands Forum, held on November 11, 2023 in the Cook Islands, clearly communicated that fossil fuel and carbon emissions are the key drivers of climate change.”
In the Letter they propose a change of narrative towards the message of Laudato Si’ and Laudate Deum, which point out that the technocratic paradigm is the root cause of the climate crisis and the current process of environmental deterioration. A paradigm that does not respect the relationship and dependence of human beings with creation.
For this reason, they deliver a key message: “The Oceania Bishops strongly say NO TO FOSSIL FUELS. The solution is to seek alternative sources of power”, and call the community to action: “We are the vanua (land) and the moana (ocean), and likewise the vanua and moana are us. Climate change and economic exploitation threaten our dignity, identity, livelihoods and existence.”
The letter concludes with a message to the local community: “Ocean Islands, let us join hands to fight this monster. Together we can!” they say. And to the international community they plead: “We cry out to our big brothers and sisters for immediate and effective commitments to make the world a fossil fuel free world.”
Read the full letter by clicking here