What is the Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM)? The GCCM is an international coalition of Catholic organizations and individuals that, in union with and in support of the pope and bishops, seeks to raise a strong Catholic voice in global climate change discussions. We are laity, religious, and clergy, theologians, scientists, and activists from all over the world, united by our Catholic faith and our work on environmental and social issues. Our goal, underpinned by Catholic teachings, is to fulfill our scriptural obligation to care for God’s creation, for the poor who are the most vulnerable to extreme weather events, and for future generations who will face the worst impacts of climate change. We encourage Catholics to renew our relationship with creation and with our brothers and sisters in poverty, and we urge our political leaders to commit to ambitious climate action in the COP21 summit at Paris to solve this urgent crisis and keep the global temperature increase below 1.5 degree Celsius relative to pre-industrial levels (aligned with the Bishops’ Statement at Lima). Read our introductory Statement to the Church and the World.
When was GCCM founded?
GCCM was founded on January 14, 2015, the day before Pope Francis arrived to the Philippines. Our foundational statement, which was drafted by our Steering Committee members, was presented to Pope Francis by Cardinal Tagle in the Philippines (read more here).
What is the structure of the GCCM?
The GCCM is governed by a Steering Committee, currently comprised of the founding members. The Steering Committee membership will be renewed in a periodic basis in a format to be determined. And the GCCM campaigns and initiatives are implemented by Our Team.
What is the legal entity of GCCM?
We are setting up the legal entity of GCCM; in the meantime we operate as a sponsored project of the Franciscan Action Network, a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization based in the United States, Federal Tax ID# 26-2015539.
Who participates in the GCCM?
All Catholics are invited to join the initiative, both as individuals and as organizations (religious congregations, dioceses, development agencies, nonprofits, etc). We aim to build a large grassroots network, aiming for large participation of the laity. The list of current GCCM partners can be found here.
How can I get involved?
You can join the movement here by participating in our different initiatives.
What are the teachings of the Catholic Church on climate change?
They are summarized here.
Considering climate change affects everyone, why is this initiative Catholic and not broader?
The GCCM was founded to work within the Catholic Church as there are already hundreds of organizations aiming to mobilize society as a whole for climate action. While Catholics have been active as individuals, there has been a growing desire to strengthen our bonds and to coordinate our efforts. It would make a big difference if 1.2 billion Catholics prayed and mobilized around climate-change issues. That is where the GCCM comes in. And we expect to work closely with interfaith coalitions (such as OurVoices and #FastForTheClimate) and with the wider climate movement (such as the Global Call for Climate Action members), to maximize our collective impact in this issue that affects everyone.
What is the GCCM’s view on the science of climate change?
The GCCM accepts the scientific consensus and the latest findings about human induced climate change, following the example of the popes and many Vatican institutions (see Catholic teachings and statements on climate change). We also recognize that some of our brothers and sisters in Christ do not accept the scientific evidence of anthropogenic climate change; to them we reach out to encourage dialogue and unity within the Church. Learn more about the scientific facts about climate change here.
What is the GCCM’s view on what needs to done about climate change?
The GCCM supports the IPCC recommendations to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the coming decades, to keep the global temperature increase below 1.5 degree Celsius (relative to pre-industrial levels). This is achievable by transitioning to clean, abundant energy sources, while investing in adaptation strategies to reduce the most dangerous risks of climate change. We acknowledge that these policies need to be agreed internationally under the UNFCCC framework. But most importantly, we argue that for those policies to happen there is a pressing need to reflect on the profound spiritual and moral implications of our failure to care for God’s Creation and our most vulnerable brothers and sisters. Catalyzing mass public demand for change requires first that the moral implications of climate change are clearly established and accepted.
What are the goals of the GCCM? The GCCM has two main goals. First, to raise awareness inside the Church about the urgency and moral imperative of climate action, while inviting our communities to pray and act on this issue. Ultimately, we aim to encourage the ongoing personal and organisational conversion that is at the center of our Catholic faith–a conversion to a Gospel-centered life that promotes a proper relationship with God, neighbor, and all creation. Second, we will work to raise our Catholic voice outside the Church in the global public sphere, advocating for a strong international climate agreement. As Benedict XVI taught, “the Church has a responsibility towards creation and she must assert this responsibility in the public sphere. (…) She must above all protect mankind from self-destruction” (Caritas in Veritate, 51).
How will the GCCM achieve those goals?
For both inwards and outwards efforts we will combine the use of traditional offline outreach (leveraging the grassroots nature of our movement) and innovative online campaigning. Namely:
For our work within the Catholic community, we will work actively at all Church levels to raise awareness of the climate issue. We will invite Catholic communities (parishes and educational institutions) to reflect on the causes of climate change leveraging Catholic teachings (particularly the upcoming encyclical), and to pray collectively on this issue (through coordinated times of fasting, Eucharistic Adoration, holy hours, and Masses). Our efforts will also have an educational component that will vary according to each society’s relationship to climate change: in high-emitting countries the focus will be in climate change mitigation and in poorer countries the focus will be adaptation to riskier climate conditions.
For our work in the public sphere we will collaborate with other organizations sharing the same objectives, both faith-based and secular, aiming to mobilize the Catholic community at scale across geographies to put pressure on political leaders to commit to meaningful climate action.
What initiatives are you planning in 2015?
We will run lots of initiatives in 2015, a crucial year for us given the upcoming encyclical on ecology by Pope Francis and the UN climate summit in Paris (COP 21). See details here.
How will the GCCM handle the global and local dimensions?
Given climate change is a global problem, both in its causes and in its consequences, we need global coordinated action and local action in every single country and city. We Catholics have a global presence across all continents, and we should contribute to the local debate in each country. The GCCM will collaborate as much as possible with national and local ecclesial structures and Catholic lay organizations, aiming to support and amplify mobilization efforts that currently are in motion in certain countries, and to spearhead the efforts in countries where Catholic climate mobilization has been weak so far. But most importantly, through a comprehensive online global campaign we aim to align and amplify a strong Catholic voice.
How can I contact the GCCM? Get in touch by writing to: hello(AT)catholicclimatemovement.global