by Tabitha Redepenning, Pax Christi International
The following reflection was written by Tabitha Redepenning, who is spending a year with the Pax Christi International secretariat in Brussels as a volunteer through the German program Aktion Sühnezeichen Friedensdienste e.V. (ASF).
As a Pax Christi International volunteer, I was delighted to accept Pax Christi Jeunes’ invitation to come to Paris on 5/6 December, while the COP21 negotiation were going on. With a group of 11 people from France, Italy and Germany, our climate change weekend started on Saturday morning with a warm welcome by the president of Pax Christi France, Bishop Marc Stenger, in the Pax Christi office. He reminded us of our responsibility to take action to fight against climate change – especially because of the obvious fact that people who are poor will be the first and most negatively affected by the consequences if we don’t stop global warming. He also spoke about the recent terror attacks in Paris, and said that we have to ask ourselves why young people, living in this country, want to destroy it. How can it be that we have such different views on the European lifestyle?
Encouraged and excited we visited the global village of alternatives – a colourful market of NGOs and local organisations designed to inform about alternative energies, personal approaches to save the climate, and widespread actions to influence the COP21 negotiations. Personally I greatly appreciated the vegan and vegetarian food for sale. When I think about, what I can do to stop climate change, food is one thing I am willing to change. Butter and beef are the most climate-damaging products, due to the generated emission through the digestive process of the animals. For me it is obvious and more logical that, more than other climate change issues, the huge amount of crop products necessary to feed animals meant for human consumption could feed many more people directly. Moreover, the times of “bad” vegetarian food are long ago. I would guess, becoming aware of what you eat makes you more creative in (veggie) cooking – at least it works for me. Buying regionally produced food is important, too, but less consumption of animal products would have a greater impact on protecting the planet…