Justice and Peace Highlights Responses to Ecological Deterioration on International Human Rights Day

  • The UN rapporteur on the human rights to water and sanitation shares a global warning call on the price of water on the Wall Street futures market.
  • The energy that pollutes the least is the energy that does not need to be produced, it has no impact. We do an exercise in ecology when we turn off energy-using appliances or practice austerity.
  • We have to live longer times of vital quality in the silence and rhythm of nature.

Madrid, December 10th, 2020 - The General Commission of Justice and Peace held a seminar on the first objective Laudato si' to respond to the clamor of the Earth. Increased use of clean and renewable energy and reduction of fossil fuels in order to achieve carbon neutrality, protect and promote biodiversity or ensure universal access to clean water are concrete and current measures to some of the ecological problems.

Water and Sanitation

Justice and Peace appreciates the effort shared by Pedro Arrojo, UN rapporteur on the human rights to water and sanitation, to focus on the natural part of restoring the health of our aquatic ecosystems in order to provide universal access to safe drinking water. Today, the figures estimated by the UN speak for themselves: 2.2 billion people do not have access to drinking water, 4.5 billion do not have guaranteed basic sanitation services, and 3.9 billion lack a pool to wash their hands in this time of pandemic.

According to the rapporteur's diagnosis, the water problem is a convergence of the ecological crisis of aquatic ecosystems; the crisis of inequality and poverty, which generates absolutely immoral socio-political and economic systems; and the conversion of life into finance, the crisis of democratic governance, which imposes the pressures of privatization and commercialization of water and sanitation services, transforming citizens into clients.

"Considerar el agua como una simple mercancía con la que se puede especular en los mercados de futuros no sólo supone un atentado directo contra los derechos humanos al agua y al saneamiento, sino también de forma indirecta contra otros derechos humanos, al tiempo que suscita graves riesgos e impactos sobre el bienestar social, la salud pública y la sostenibilidad de los ecosistemas acuáticos", señala el relator en su llamamiento global de alerta.

"Considering water as a simple commodity that can be speculated on in the futures markets is not only a direct violation of the human rights to water and sanitation, but also an indirect violation of other human rights, while it raises serious risks and impacts on social welfare, public health and the sustainability of aquatic ecosystems", says the rapporteur in his global wake-up call.

Energy in your life

At this time, energy drives our lives in two fundamental ways: as thermal energy, present in sanitation systems, and as electrical energy, in household appliances and mobility systems. The appropriate dimension of the power indispensable in our daily activities is fundamental and contributes in a responsible way to energy consumption. A car with a large engine needs more energy to move it in the same trips. The time of use of electrical appliances is another variable of direct proportionality in energy consumption.

Today's responses to energy use include savings as a major component. The only energy that does not pollute is the one that is not consumed. To reflect on energy consumption is to reflect on nature and humanity. The road is long and it is necessary to promote distributed generation, based on renewables without discarding non-renewable solutions, the cogeneration of self-consumption and community, thermal efficiency, in household appliances, mobility and construction quality, as well as good demand management.

Green Conversion

On the fifth anniversary of the encyclical Laudato si', the Pope announced a "Laudato si' year, to continue to deepen it. This encyclical has managed to make visible the cry of the earth, marking a before and after, based on the Gospel has given the inevitable response to a sign of the times, a cry that calls for a change of model, a song to life where it is placed in the center. In short, it has managed to put words to a feeling of the Church: "Concern for nature, justice for impoverished people, commitment to society and inner peace are inseparable" (St. Francis of Assisi). As believers he asks us to change the way we consume, he calls us to humility and simplicity of behavior, he urges us to embrace science and to feel and believe in ecological conversion, opening our eyes and ears and seeking a daily time of quality, without noise and without haste, of silence and slowness. These challenges and proposals go hand in hand with organizations, movements, and church entities that are undertaking multiple initiatives throughout the planet and joining forces that respond to the cry of the earth.

Within the global governance that inspires the United Nations, the core of human rights is the essential core of what we can understand as democratic governance for the 21st century. Justice and Peace strives to weave networks of dialogue to make this possible.

More information at: https://www.juspax-es.org/clamortierra/