COP15 and Religion?
I felt somewhat surprising when scanning the programm for the Side Events and Exhibits at COP15. Religion does not really appear on the menu, apart from some religiously inspired organisations such as Oxfam International and Christian Aid. Of course, there is the official Vatican delegation at the COP15 and I also know that many religiously connected NGOs, such as Caritas Internationalis, have sent delegations to Copenhagen, but at the Bela Site itself the latter are not, as such, visible. It’s a pity. I think religion has a lot to offer, precisely on Climate Change, both concerning mitigation (e.g. suggestions on how to change lifestyles) and adaptation. The Roman Catholic Church, for example, is a worldwide organisation with great resources on the levels of presence in the field, of capacities to advocate and to reach out to the media and political worlds, of stimulating research and activities in its universities and connected NGOs. It is a sin of omission when this is not put at good use, at least it seems to me. The voice of religious leaders should be very loud at this moment, not only outside of the COP15 conference hall, but also inside. Words like those of Archbishop Rowan Williams on Dec 5 at the Ecumenical Service at Westminster Central Hall should be heard at Bela Centre.