Clark Berge’s report on Monday at COP26:
The day began with a nearly two hours wait outside the Blue Zone venue as world leaders assembled. The cold didn’t diminish the sense of eagerness I sensed around me. To my joy I met the Solomon Island negotiators Henry Tufah, Melissa Horokou and Leah Aota. Henry had been a teacher at Selwyn College next door to Hautambu Friary, and Melissa had been a student at the school. Both knew the SSF brothers well and were well acquainted with a young boy named after me, Clark Kaekae who lived with his parents at the college. Apart from catching up on life in the Solomons we talked about their role as negotiators on behalf of the Solomons and all Island nations, their agenda for the talks.
Once inside the venue, we met with colleagues from different religious NGOs. These NGOs, like Franciscans International have a great opportunity to interact with negotiators and country leaders, many of whom have a religious practice. From our religious and spiritual perspective, we can remind them of their obligation to the poorest countries who contribute very little to the cause of the climate crisis yet bear the brunt of many of the consequences.
Then we traveled across the city to the Gorbals district, where the OFM Franciscans have their friary and where we had a webinar. Over 120 people participated in the webinar, 10 present in the room and 110 online. We were happy with the number of people involved and with the questions and response we got.