The launch of the We Have Faith cycling caravan has come and gone and the cyclists are on their way. The launch of the cycling caravan took place on the 29th August in Maputo and began with a march from Independence Square to Maxaquene Pavilion. The National Ambassadors of South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Botswana as well as the President of Mozambique attended and gave speeches, wishing the cyclists well. A day of rest allowed the 21 cyclists to gather their strength before they set off for the South African border after a tree planting ceremony on Monday 31st August.
Now that the cyclists are on the road, there is a small collective sigh from our side as after weeks of negotiating and organising, the cycling caravan has finally kicked off! However for everyone else it has just begun. The cyclists are facing long, open stretches of road and weather of all types as they travel through regions where climate change is making itself felt. There will be the meeting of communities, some of whom can speak from bitter experience about the devastating effects of climate change on their lives. But there will also be the uplifting feeling that comes from being part of a community that is taking action and not sitting idly by any longer.
More than anything else we hope that the We Have Faith – Act Now for Climate Justice will give people a renewed sense of hope and purpose in working for climate justice. Now is the time to act, as Lydia Mogano reminds us in the interview SAFCEI did with her this week on climate change and climate justice. We need to hold our leaders accountable and not allow them to make empty commitments yet again. COP21 is meant to be the conference at which “a universal, legally binding agreement that will enable us to combat climate change effectively and boost the transition towards resilient, low-carbon societies and economies” is to emerge. And we need to make sure that this does happen, by making our demands heard.
There is plenty of opportunity to engage with the We Have Faith campaign, physically or virtually, as it travels through Southern Africa. Keep checking our Earth Keeper website to stay up to date with the cycling caravan’s progress. We would also like to see you sign the petition, and add your voice of faith.
The petition has five demands directed at our leaders. It asks that the agreement in Paris:
- Delivers fair, and ambitious and strong climate actions at a level adequate to stop climate change and keep global warming well below 1.5 ̊C
- Delivers and scales up public finance to enable the poorest to adapt to climate change and continue to transit and develop a low carbon pathway
- African governments must commit new resources from national budgets for investment to help people adapt and build resilience for increased food security, prioritising the needs of women food producers. They must also that the Paris climate deal delivers major new public funds for adaptation and resilience in Africa
- All actions to address climate change and all the processes established under this agreement ensures a gender-responsive approach, taking into account environmental integrity, inter-generational equity and respect of human rights, as well as the right development and the rights of indigenous peoples
- Shares the effort of curbing climate change fairly with domestic emissions reductions by developed countries that are commensurate with Science and Equity
We Have Faith – Act Now for Climate Justice believes that faith communities have the integrity to put the much-needed moral and ethical considerations back into the negotiations.