2016 has started very quickly for Nga Whaea Atawhai o Aotearoa New Zealand Mercy Global Action.
A report on COP21 was made to the Leadership Team and subsequently released to Sisters to read. I have heard good comments and may need to wait for the congregational weekend for any possible or likely action that may come out of it. In saying that however, I have added the focus of climate change to that of Sustainable Development Goals, Water quality (including Oceans) as the focus for NZ. Climate Change or Climate Justice Issues will include within it extractive mining of fossil fuels. At present, in NZ, we are having a lull in the potential exploration of oil and natural gas – the reason is due to the price of oil. As the price is so low and the terrain in New Zealand considered complex (this includes offshore) – the willingness of mining companies to explore or start up new wells is very low or non-existent.
Climate Change is a very real issue for our part of the world. Sisters of Mercy New Zealand cover Samoa and Tonga. The Cook Islands and the remote Tokelau Islands also come under NZ jurisdiction (although we have no Sisters present there). Sea level rise, more severe storms (Fiji is in recovery mode from Cyclone Winston – a category 5 storm (which is the highest level), the death count (@42 at present) from this storm is still rising as the have yet to make full contact with the outer islands), and ocean acidification leading to the death of coral are just some of the outcomes that result from Climate Change.
The Pacific Climate Change Conference came out of COP21, as there was felt to be a need to have a regional gathering as the issues for the Pacific are considered urgent and/or high risk matters. Feel free to listen to the opening address of President Tong of the Republic of Kiribati
I will be having a year sabbatical (beginning in June). The latter part of my sabbatical will be in New York doing a tailored internship (which still needs to be worked out) with the Mercy Global Action Team at the UN.
Bridget Crisp rsm
Mercy Global Action New Zealand