Jessica Morethorpe, First Third specialist for the Metro West Region of the Uniting Church in WA, recently travelled to Rome to join hundreds of other faith leaders in thanking Pope Francis for his encyclical, Laudato Si’. She shares her experience with Revive.
We came from all over the world, from many faiths and many countries, but with one cause and one message: we need to act on climate change. We came to thank Pope Francis for taking leadership in this area by releasing Laudato Si’ (his teaching letter on care for our common home – the Earth), and to ask world leaders to prepare to take action at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s supreme decision-making body, COP climate negotiations to be held in Paris in December. We brought our stories of the effects of climate change we are already experiencing in our countries, and our hopes and dreams for a better future for ourselves and our children than currently seems possible.
We had come to Rome for the Emerging Leaders Multi-Faith Climate Convergence (ELMCC), a meeting of about 100 delegates chosen from over 400 applications worldwide to discuss the climate crisis and what we can do together to create change. To launch the convergence, on 28 June we joined about 5000 people to march from Piazza Farnese to St Peter’s Square, with a range of signs and artistic symbols telling a story of what needs to happen. We also handed out large leaves with quotes from major faith leaders about climate change on them. They were so popular the whole square turned green for the Pope’s weekly message.