Kerala Floods and Divestment

September 10, 2018

flood rescue camp, Caritas India

In Kerala, India, more than 1 million people have been displaced from their homes and more than 400 people have died as a result of floods driven by unusually heavy monsoon rains.

Caritas India is on the front lines of the response to this crisis.  In response to the effect of climate change on the people it serves, Caritas India is divesting from fossil fuels.

flooded home, Caritas India


Statement from Caritas India about the Kerala Floods:

Excess and exploitative use of fossil fuels has created a life around these products. Most of the products we use in our daily life is linked to the petro-chemicals. The market forces, through a continuous campaign has created our dependency around fossil fuels. As an aftermath, severe damage is caused to the environment and nature. This has evidently caused climate change which is manifested in the forms of severe droughts, floods and other extreme climate events. The recent floods in Kerala is a unique example of how the extreme events can lead to massive destruction even in well developed areas. More than 415 people died and much more than a million people were displaced in this event. Overall, more than 5 million people from 776 out of 1453 villages are affected by the flood and landslide disasters. The most affected in such events are certainly the poorest and marginalized communities and individuals. Most of the people in the flood affected areas are left with nothing. All their belongings are washed away or damaged due to flood. Many of the houses are collapsed and many are still inundated in water. Children lost all their books and notes. Agriculture is in peril for the second season in a row. Drinking water and sanitation is going to be major challenge in these areas for a long time.

Such events are more often happening across the globe. It is evident that no one will be spared from the aftermath of such a devastating catastrophe. We have very limited time and resources to act and it is the right time. Caritas India has decided to not only divest from the fossil fuel, but also promote alternate and sustainable energy sources for the community and governments to adapt. We do not have any investments in fossil fuels. Our efforts will be make Caritas India a Carbon neutral organisation and we will urge more and more organisations in our network to declare themselves as fossil free.

Statement from Bishop Lumen Monteiro, Chairman of Caritas India

“Today, Caritas India is grateful to join Catholic institutions in saying ‘no’ to dirty energy. Rapid and unexpected changes in the climate propelled by unethical and exploitative use of fossil fuels have caused irreversible damage to our people and nature.

Climate change has negatively impacted the lives and livelihoods of communities in India, especially the poor and marginalized. The frequency of extreme climate events has increased in the last decade, and the latest one in Kerala has taken the lives of more than 400 people and displaced more than a million people. It will take them a long time to overcome this tragedy. At Caritas India our mission is to bring the gospel’s love and compassion to people who need it, and to do that we must step away from the fossil fuels that cause so much suffering.”

Statement from Fr. Paul Moonjely, Executive Director, Caritas India

“Fossil fuels and the petro-chemical products made from them have been proved to be harmful for the people, society, nature and our future generation. Caritas India is committed to work for the betterment of the poor and marginalized communities bringing them justice and love. Climate change propelled by fossil fuels is affecting these communities the most. Caritas India has not only decided not to invest in fossil fuels but also proactively promote environment friendly alternate fuel solutions in our institutional and programmatic initiatives. Governed by our policy on environmental justice, we have decided to make Caritas India a carbon neutral organization and a carbon positive collective. We are confident that the dedicated action at individual and collective levels will bring forward sustainable options to fossil fuels. We urge our collaborators and partners to join us in this pledge to divest from fossil fuels and say not to dirty energy.”