Former Philippine climate change commissioner Naderev "Yeb" Saño began his 6 month pilgrimage to COP21 on Monday, with his first stop in Vanuatu, a region still recovering from climate change related disaster. After resigning from his government position, Saño joined Our Voices, an international coalition of interfaith works that are invigorating the climate talks in Paris with a moral message. Saño shared, ”We feel the missing element is the moral aspect of climate change and… the planetary environmental problem, so we think that galvanizing global public opinion, especially across religions, can give this process the moral push.” A push Saño anticipates getting a boost from Pope Francis' climate Encyclical scheduled for release June 18.
Saño isn't the only one making the arduous journey, as the ‘People's Pilgrims' began their treks from various regions of the world, and you can track their progress with this interactive map.
BY Megan Rowling for Reuters
BARCELONA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – A "People's Pilgrimage" to highlight the effects of climate change and an upcoming papal encyclical on the environment aim this month to invigorate political will for an ambitious new deal to curb global warming.
On Monday, former Philippines' climate change commissioner Naderev "Yeb" Saño kicked off a six-month journey around the world to places hit hard by climate change, beginning in the Pacific island state of Vanuatu, still struggling to recover from the devastation caused by Cyclone Pam in March.
The ex-negotiator, who grabbed the limelight at 2013 U.N. climate talks with emotional pleas and fasting after Typhoon Haiyan, said he and thousands of other "climate pilgrims" from Europe and beyond planned to converge in Paris before the Nov. 30 start of the U.N. conference where a new climate accord is due to be sealed.
"We feel the missing element is the moral aspect of climate change and… the planetary environmental problem, so we think that galvanizing global public opinion, especially across religions, can give this process the moral push," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation before heading to Vanuatu.
There he participated in a meeting on the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior with Vanuatu's president and community leaders from Pacific island states to develop a regional climate action plan in the wake of the Cyclone Pam disaster.
After stepping down from the Philippines government in April amid speculation over policy rifts, Saño joined a global multi-faith climate campaign called "OurVoices", which unites people from many religions, including Catholics like himself, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and Protestants.