07 October 2021, The Tablet

The cry of the Earth

Biodiversity, climate change and COP26

The cry of the Earth

‘The rich diversity of life reflects God’s goodness and creative exuberance’
A Red-Eyed Tree Frog, in Costa Rica. photo: alamy, Don Johnston_IH


The rich diversity of life reflects God’s goodness and creative exuberance. When biodiversity is diminished, climate change is accelerated. This is why the biodiversity summit in Kunming next spring and the forthcoming climate summit in Glasgow next month are so vital

Catholic theologians and religious leaders have been caught off guard. While the message that anthropogenic climate change is putting the future of humanity in peril is finally sinking in, we have been slower to recognise the dire threat posed by humanity’s destructive impact on biological diversity.

Next week, the official opening of the UN Biodiversity Conference takes place online, and there will be face-to-face meetings in Kunming, China, next spring, to finalise a new global biodiversity framework. But concern for biodiversity is not just a matter for scientists and political leaders. It is a profoundly moral and spiritual issue. The loss of species and genetic diversity and the damage to ecosystems ?are not only affecting other species; they are also destroying human health. Biodiversity is about justice for the most vulnerable, both human and creaturely. The loss of biodiversity is intricately linked to climate change, destabilising the global ecosystem with devastating consequences: it reached the emergency “red” zone long before the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change started to speak of “code red for humanity” in August this year. Time is running out to make the changes needed not just for human survival but for the sustainability of other creatures and all life systems on earth.

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