Stepping out like Pope Francis

Julia Corcoran writes: I have had the privilege to spend the last three days in Paris as one of the Columban JPIC delegates. We’ve come to Paris this week due to the UN COP21. The aim of the conference is to create a global agreement on how to tackle climate change.

There is no denying that the climate is changing, whether you believe it is the fault of humans or not. The affects of this change in climate is affecting everyone but especially the poorest. It does not seem fair that those who are the least responsible are those who are the most affected.

Those gathered in Paris for COP21 have a chance to come together to create a powerful agreement that could save this world and thousands, if not millions of people’s lives.

The Columban JPIC delegates and many others from a variety of organisations have come to Paris to make sure the voices of millions around the world are heard. Its not just those who have gathered in Paris that have been acting. Millions of people around the world have been marching for the climate today. The global community wants the leaders gathered in Paris to make a positive agreement. The time to act is now, tomorrow is too late.

While being here in Paris I have been reflecting on the earth that future generations will inherit. I do not want to be part of the generation that will be remembered for causing the planet to be destroyed. Instead I’d rather be known as part of the generation that acted in order to tackle climate change.

In Paris today, at least 10,000 pairs of shoes were placed in Place Republique as the march here had to be cancelled due to the attacks that took place in the city on the 13th November. Despite the march being cancelled the people of Paris wanted to demonstrate the importance the conference holds and how the voices of the many who will be affected by climate change need to be heard.

Among the shoes were a pair provided by Pope Francis, a key advocator on the importance of caring for the environment. He often reminds us of our responsibilities towards the earth. “God always forgives, we men forgive sometimes, but nature never forgives. If you give her a slap, she will give you one. I believe that we have exploited nature too much.”

Like so many including Pope Francis, I have hope for the agreement that will come out of COP21. The leaders of the world have a great chance to do something about the biggest issue the world faces right now. I suspect when history looks back on the next few days it will either blame or thank the outcome of this UN conference.

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