Mankind’s relationship with nature was the focus of the Climate Summit of Conscience in Paris, hosted by French President Francois Hollande on Tuesday.
With the UN climate conference just months away, faith leaders, Nobel laureates, economists and artists from around the world gathered in the French capital to show that protecting the planet is more than a matter of science.
“The meaning of this meeting is to assemble all of the consciences,” explained Hollande. “The word ‘conscience’ impacts every one of us. It’s up to every individual to see what he or she can do to save the planet. There are philosophies, there are convictions, there are global diversities that should at a certain point unite, and unite to make decisions.”
A more immediate concern is the effect on migration. More than 20 million people were displaced by natural disasters last year alone, according to the Norwegian Refugee Council.
At a meeting of mayors in the Vatican, the mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo said there was a clear need to respect the planet, but also human life – which is an area where mayors are very much involved.
All are aiming to strike a deal to limit global temperatures to 2 degrees Celsius. Researchers warn a rise of 4 degrees could lead to substantial species extinction, global food insecurity and fundamental changes to human life.