Youth for Eco-Justice: Claire Hilary Morris

Name: Claire Hilary Morris
Age: 23
Function: Wind Energy PhD Student
Country of origin: United Kingdom
Church of origin: Church of England

What is really important for your life?

My life’s purpose is to increase justice, sustainability and responsible community living in the world. It is important for me to
experience God’s creation and to meet people and share my passion and
enthusiasm for nature. From an early age, I have greatly enjoyed
hiking, camping and exploring wild places with my friends and family,
and now I am a keen climber and canoeist too. It is important for me
to learn about our balance and interdependency with the environment,
and how to care for the ecosystems that sustain us. My focus is on
renewable energy, specifically wind turbine technology and electricity
storage. It is vital that our global energy supply is shifted away
from fossil fuels, which are draining resources, devastating habitats,
polluting the atmosphere and tipping the climate into a dangerous
state. It is an urgent priority that we act together now to protect
life on earth and to promote equal distribution of wealth, opportunity
and resources. I believe the most important thing is to respect and
care about other people and other living things, speaking out against
destruction and injustice, and standing up for right and good
practices. And once we learn to love as God loves us, we will see
transformation across the world.

What are your wishes for the negotiations on Climate Change in Durban?

From my perspective, reinforcing the scientific evidence for Climate
Change, coupled with communicating its human impacts, will be the most
persuasive tools for achieving a fair deal in Durban. I wish to learn
and contribute through group participation in the civil society
meetings, which can greatly influence the main negotiations by keeping
the focus and momentum of the COP. I am praying that the negotiations
will progress to secure better financial mechanisms for Climate Change
adaptation and mitigation, more stringent emissions reduction
commitments, and clear action plans away from fossil fuels and towards
global sustainable development. The negotiations must recognise the
limits of our natural resources, ecosystems, and biosphere as a whole.
This means acknowledging mass-extinction with rising temperature and
greenhouse gases levels, reminding ourselves of climate feedback
mechanisms via the oceans and permafrost, and admitting our dependency
on the environment and the reality of our struggle over remaining
food, drinking water and valuable industrial materials.

It is also my hope that we will prioritise protecting and supporting
the most vulnerable nations, small island states and least developed
countries, whose people are facing the severe effects of drought,
floods and large weather events which devastate whole regions. This
includes protecting their grasslands, forests, and farming land from
the large corporations which want to exploit and devastate these
beautiful and important areas. The messages from the people and the
planet join in a loud clear voice saying “We must act now!” and our
leaders must take courage and responsibility to make this voice heard
to even the most reluctant nations, during the negotiations. We have a
shared home and shared future, so each country must be ambitiously
proactive to face the urgent challenges of Climate Change. My wish is
that the common thread of our humanity and our instinct for survival
will stand out through all the negotiations and bring people and
parties together with faith to take necessary action for a safe future
on Earth. We are all in this together.

What would you like to do so that your church/country becomes more
environmentally just?

I would like to work with churches and schools – speaking, informing
and setting up small action groups to work on sustainability solutions
in my local area. I would also like to develop a national Youth for
Eco-Justice network in the UK to equip and empower people to
communicate eco-justice, and to implement projects in their own
contexts. I hope to pass on the knowledge, training and resources from
the programme in Durban via this network to support others. I wish to
work jointly with faith and non-faith environmental organisations in
the UK to take specific and focussed actions such as installing
renewable energy and starting community sustainability initiatives and
food co-operatives.

I would like to develop strong contacts worldwide with other youth
activists from Durban, to continue building and reinforcing the global
youth climate network. Together, we can make a huge impact in our
countries and in the world. This will also help to highlight and focus
on addressing the social inequalities and injustices between different
nations, and maintain the global perspective, beyond our own
situations and issues. A key element of my vision is to encourage
supporting each other internationally, by getting involved in joint
projects, particularly regarding sustainable development.

I am also part of a strong political campaigning voice on Climate
Change in the UK, supported by many NGOs and independent groups of
people. I would like to connect local eco-justice groups with these
national movements to increase our political influence in this
country. As the public voice continues to grow louder, our leaders in
government will be obliged to respond by passing new laws and
regulations to increase the sustainability of our lives, collectively
as a nation. I believe this is the most urgent priority for developed
countries like the UK, since we are a large part of the problem,
responsible for pollution and exploitation of the environment, and
therefore we have great potential to influence and contribute to the
solutions for Climate Change.

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