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Reuters
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Reuters
World News

Children are the world's conscience on climate change says Christian charity director

by Donna Birrell

A senior director at the Christian charity, World Vision says it's vital to listen to the voices of children and young people on climate change.

Chris Derksen-Heibert was speaking from Glasgow as the UK government announced that 40 countries had signed up to a deal to stop using coal. The charity's senior policy director told Premier he is disappointed that some of the world's biggest polluters, including China, India and the United States hadn't committed to the deal:

"Our concern is that without some of the largest countries, the biggest emitters of carbon, it's going to be very challenging to meet the goals that we set out to reach here. So it's important that organisations like World Vision, civil society organisations, children, youth and countries that are committed, continue to push and advocate with those countries to make those commitments.

"The impacts of climate change are not theoretical for us, we see it every day. Climate disasters affect the lives of children every day. We work in about 100 countries around the world, we're seeing a significant increase in natural disasters, we're seeing more flooding, more drought. This year, for the first time in several years, the rates of hunger and the potential for famine. Biblical levels of famine in a number of countries have increased significantly and climate is very connected to these challenges. This past year, we saw a huge influx of locusts in East Africa, which wiped out crops, all of these things are becoming more and more common. It's without question connected to the changes that are happening to our climate.

"Children and communities in the poorest parts of the world are already feeling the effects of climate change. This is unprecedented and that's why this summit is so important. 

"As people of faith, we need to be people of hope. When I listen to the voices of the children who we work with and when I listen to their pleas and their calls on us as adults, their calls to governments, I have to stand with them. 

"Children are increasingly the conscience of the world on climate. We have to continue to hope and work as hard as we can to ensure that we do reach that that goal of 1.5 degrees. It's not enough for children and youth and organisations like World Vision, we need politicians. We need leaders of the world, corporate and political, to get behind this and make a real shift in their commitments going forward.

"This should be a matter of concern for all Christians, for all people of faith. The earth is the creation, is God's, and we cannot separate our faith, from what's happening to our world, what's happening to the climate and how that affects especially the most vulnerable. As people of faith, as Christians, we need to call on our leaders, on our society as a whole to take these issues seriously."

 

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