Virginia Bell of the Laudato Si Animators writes:

The United Nations climate talks or Conference of Parties (COP) will take place 1-12 November 2021 in Glasgow. COP26 will be the biggest summit ever hosted in the UK.It is the most significant climate event since the 2015 Paris Agreement, at which over 190 countries agreed to the aim of limiting global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius. COP26 is the first summit when countries must report back on their progress since the Paris Agreement, and set out more ambitious goals for ending their contribution to climate change.


Most of the world’s energy is produced by burning fossil fuels – oil, coal and gas – which creates carbon dioxide which is damaging the environment and causing global warming.  Also, fossil fuels cannot be replaced. So it is absolutely necessary to change to sustainable and non-polluting energy sources.


We need healthy topsoil for growing crops, but it’s rapidly disappearing. It is being eroded by trees being cut down for growing cash crops and grazing livestock, it is being washed away into rivers and seas from lack of trees and vegetation to hold it in place, and it is being degraded by the use of chemical fertilisers, herbicides, pesticides etc by intensive farming methods. Global warming, spread of diseases, flooding and contamination of water ecosystems all worsen with loss of topsoil. One estimation gives us only 6 more decades before we run out of topsoil.


Perhaps the most pernicious problem is our overconsumption of resources, and the wastage that goes with it. If we continue consuming at the present rate, we will need 3 Earths by 2050. As individuals we could choose to buy nothing without questioning the need. We call on the Government to transition from unsustainable, wasteful and polluting businesses and agriculture to green businesses and agriculture.


By growing livestock and cash crops, we are using far more land than we need for agriculture, which is causing extinction of species. We need to grow organic crops in a sustainable way, using agroforestry and permaculture. Governments must help farmers change over to sustainable agriculture by shifting subsidies and financial incentives from livestock production to sustainable organic plant-based agriculture.


If we don’t limit global warming to well under 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, in fact to below 1.5 degrees, the consequences will be disastrous for countless people all over the world. Climate change is just one of the emergencies we’re facing. Deforestation, environmental pollution and destruction, pandemic, antibiotic resistance, global hunger, over-consumption, waste of resources, extinction of species, obesity and ill health in richer countries have all reached crisis point.