Solving the threat of rising sea levels and deep-sea mining in Oceania will require methods that bring science and the human experience together, guests heard at a world-first online conference held last week. Source: ACU.
More than 100 people from across the region and beyond, including Catholic bishops from the Oceania region, attended the first Our Ocean Home conference promoting First Nations voices from Polynesia, Micronesia and Melanesia alongside experts in climate science and theology.
The event, hosted by Australian Catholic University with endorsement from the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, was held in preparation for the General Assembly of the Federation of Catholic Bishops’ Conferences of Oceania (FCBCO) in February next year.
FCBCO President, Archbishop Peter Loy Chong, who joined the conference from Rome, said as caretakers of the Church in Oceania, the bishops of the region would be asking the world to commit to caring for the ocean when they meet for their General Assembly.
“We are the Catholic Bishops of Oceania, and we want to be prophets for the ocean and Oceania peoples.
“The Federation of Catholic Bishops Conference of Oceania will hold our assembly next year in February and ‘care for the ocean’ is one of the key themes. We will speak to the world to commit to its caring for the ocean. This is the first and most important step towards caring for mother ocean, our common home.”
Archbishop Chong said the impact of the climate crisis was revealing the vulnerability of island nations in Oceania, who face two major threats to their life – rising sea levels, and marine extractives.