We have a shared moral responsibility to ensure that this amazing planet – our common home – remains safe and habitable for present and future generations.
And I have come here today because I believe that the world urgently needs your united voice and powerful leadership to help make that happen.
Right now, a historic drought, worsened by climate change, is bringing immense suffering to millions of my fellow Kenyans and to other communities living in neighbouring countries across the Horn of Africa.
Earlier this year, I travelled to Wajir County in the north eastern part of my country, and there witnessed a shocking example of the impacts of the interconnected climate, nature and food crises.
I drove for hours down dusty roads lined with the shrivelled carcasses of decimated local wildlife populations.
I held livestock dying of thirst in my arms.
I listened to the stories of hungry and desperate people who are losing all hope for their future.
Climate-driven disasters are of course not only happening in Kenya.
Over the last few years, deadly heat-waves and wildfires have swept through Algeria.
Devastating floods have taken many lives in Uganda, Nigeria and South Africa.
And we know there is more to come.
I choose to share real human stories from people who are rarely given a voice in decision-making spaces – and have chosen to do so again here
today – not to shock or blame anyone, but rather in the hope, and with a prayer, that we might truly allow ourselves to feel the immense suffering that our way of doing things is causing.
Because I believe that an open heart is where the seed of true action lies within each of us.
The global community has been coming together to negotiate outcomes at environmental and climate conferences for many more decades than I have been alive.
And yet we still find ourselves at the precipice of an interconnected and worsening climate, nature and pollution crisis.
Why are we not doing what we know we must?
In my view, what is holding us back from dealing with the interconnected climate, nature and pollution crises is not a lack of scientific knowledge or technology – these are human problems, and the solutions to them lie in the human head, heart and mind.
I believe in our human capacity to care deeply and act collectively.
I believe in our ability to do what is right if we let ourselves feel it in our hearts.
And I believe we can absolutely find our way out of the planetary crisis we face – but to do so we will need to change our way of thinking and start telling new stories about what is important and what is possible.
And this is where I think the faith community has a vital role to play.
Right now, the life-sustaining and sacred relationship between nature and humanity is not being recognised, valued or protected.
We are perpetuating an ecocidal economic system that is destroying nature faster than it can regenerate.
We are not being good planetary stewards.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
A future with a stable climate, clean air, clean water, and food security for all is possible.
And international cooperation and solidarity is how we will achieve it.
What is needed now is courageous and urgent action from each and every one of us to change course while we still can, born of compassion and respect for ourselves and all life on Earth.
The global community will be convening in Egypt in November for the COP27 climate conference and again in Montreal in December for the COP15 biodiversity conference.
My urgent appeal to all of you ahead of these critical moments is: “Please do more to help”.
Help by using your power, resources and influence to call on world leaders, the business community and citizens everywhere to take the climate and nature crises seriously and act with urgency — to follow through on promises made.
This is not just a moment for compassion, but also for action and reform.
We must break our deadly reliance on fossil fuels and invest massively in a clean energy future and energy access for all.
We must transform our global food system and protect and restore Earth’s ecosystems.
Countries must raise their ambition to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, and assist others to meet this challenge by mobilising finance and resources —
including a dedicated finance facility to help poor countries cope with climate related loss and damage.
What we will gain by solving the food, nature and climate crises together will be improved human health, security and wellbeing everywhere.
This is the only pathway to a healthy and dignified life that allows people to provide for themselves and their families.
It is my sincere hope that we can walk together towards the kind of future I think we all want.
Lambeth Conference 3rd Aug 2022
Image _ The Lambeth Conference