Montreal will host the COP15 on biodiversity from December 7 to 19, 2022. Among the many participants invited to this conference, which brings together the member countries of the UN’s Convention on Biological Diversity, will be an interfaith delegation and an Indigenous delegation. Numerous events organized by civil society groups – the Collectif COP15 – are scheduled to be held downtown and will be open to the public. Three delegates from the international movement Laudato Si will be in attendance. The Place d’Armes metro station will be closed for three weeks, and there will be significant disruption of traffic in the area of the security perimeter around the Palais des Congrès
What has faith – or what have religions – to do with biodiversity?
The awareness that we are part of one Creation that is beloved of God and, for many religions and forms of spirituality, that we have been entrusted with caring for our common home, brings with it an inherent commitment to protecting biodiversity. A period of extinction on a massive scale is under way now, accompanied with an enormous loss of both land and marine biodiversity. Pope Francis wrote on this subject in his encyclical letter, Laudato Si’, 32-42 (2015): “Because of us, thousands of species will no longer give glory to God by their very existence, nor convey their message to us. We have no such right.”
In 2019, the interfaith forum Peace Now, organized by the Canadian Centre for Ecumenism, culminated in the drafting of a Canadian interfaith Declaration. The conclusion of that document states, “In response to this ecological crisis we are therefore committed to promoting a relevant conversation that will transform our deepest convictions into appropriate and responsible actions based on social justice and sustainable peace.“
“We are committed to working together both with people of faith and equally with the lay authorities to advance good practices to take good decisions and to take appropriate actions that will lead us to sustainable solutions.”
Surely this declaration applies to Catholics in the metropolitan area, as well?
What are the issues?
According to Collectif COP15, which comprises 67 Quebec civil society organizations, “The Montreal COP15 is not like any other COP; it is the Biodiversity COP of the decade.” The Collectif has put together a list of five issues, along with relevant questions and actions to be carried out:
- The underlying causes of ecological decline
- Biodiversity and us
- Connecting the climate crisis and biodiversity
- Inclusivity and solidarity
- Governments’ responsibilities
Please visit the interfaith delegation’s website for further topics of reflection.
How can I participate?
- The Collectif and other civil society groups organize numerous events.
- By reading the letter that 45 Catholic Organizations across Canada have signed and sent to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Biodiversity COP - Joint Ecological Ministry (mailchimpsites.com)
- Through prayer: specifically, at the 7:30 a.m. Mass (in French) on Saturday, December 10 at Mary Queen of the World Cathedral that will be livestreamed by Salt + Light Media.
- Through patience: why not offer up to God, for the Conference’s success, the inconveniences occasioned by the downtown security perimeter?
- By participating in the March for Biodiversity and Human Rights, December 10, at 1:00 p.m., that will rally at the monument opposite Jeanne-Mance Park.
- By viewing the film La Lettre in your own home or by attending an organized a screening –at the Archdiocese of Montreal offices (Mon. Dec. 5th, 6:00-9:00 p.m.) or St. Jax (Tues. Dec. 13th, 7:00 p.m.).
- By pursuing our ecological conversion: individually, as families, and as organizations, to reflect our newly gained awareness.