As the holy week nears, an official from the social action arm of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has called for an ‘ecological conversion’ to address the present climate change crisis.

Speaking alongside former United States Vice President Al Gore at the Climate Reality Project’s Leadership Training on Monday, National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA)/Caritas Philippines Executive Secretary Fr. Edwin Gariguez said the issue of climate change is not only about curbing fossil fuel production and its carbon emissions, expansion of carbon markets or transitioning to low carbon economies, but going beyond the mere economic and political arena.

“Over and above the campaign to provide technical or political solutions, we need to recover the wider ethical context underlying the climate change discourse,” the priest said during the Climate Reality Project leadership training on Monday.

The priest likewise stressed the moral imperative of the Church to act and care for the Earth, especially the Philippines is at the doorstep of all major threats of climate change.

Gariguez said the Philippines, being an archipelago, is prone to climate-induced disasters brought about by sea level rise, storm surges, prolonged drought and flash floods with poor communities suffering most the impacts of climate change.

Based on the 2014 World Risk Report, the Philippines ranked second with the greatest risk to disaster worldwide in terms of climate change vulnerability.

“The recent catastrophic super typhoon Yolanda that devastated the central region of our country attests to this level of vulnerability,” the Goldman Environmental Prize awardee said.

The Catholic Church through the Caritas confederation has already reached out to 1.8 million people affected by Yolanda, and managed a total of P3.2 billion over the last two years.

It can be recalled that the recent encyclical of Pope Francis, Laudato Si, highlighted the adverse impacts of climate change on the poor and most vulnerable, and the scale of the climate crisis.