In December 2015, the climate talks in Paris identified the goal of limiting the rise in global temperature this century to no more than 1.5 degree Celsius. The IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 ºC further solidified the fact that our global situation is dire, but those on the frontlines stand to face the worst effects. In some places, they already are.

As Catholics, we believe that it is our call to “hear the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor” and take action to care for creation. Catholic communities worldwide hold vast resources, agency, and relationships which could help turn the tide of the climate crisis – if we collaborate effectively and quickly.

We know that one element of reaching our global climate goal is reducing and ultimately ending reliance on carbon-emitting fossil fuels like coal and oil for our energy. The Franciscan Sisters of Mary enthusiastically support the use of clean, renewable energy such as solar or wind power. By the end of 2014, FSM had totally phased out investments in the extraction and sale of fossil fuels, shifting to investments in clean energy and resource efficiency, and we’re committed to helping others do the same.

In much climate action and advocacy, the voices of those on the frontlines of environmental injustice and climate change are overlooked. Forging ahead without the most vulnerable will only lead to inequitable, exclusionary not to mention unsuccessful new systems. All climate advocacy and action must center and empower women, minority groups, indigenous peoples and frontline communities.

Our faith leads us, alongside many others, to courageously pursue systemic change with justice at the forefront.