As Pope Francis made clear in his encyclical, Laudato Si', climate change is a reality that is threatening the lives and livelihoods of some of the poorest people who share our planet, the very people who have the least to do with creating this problem. As all of us work to reduce the causes of climate change, it is necessary to help people adapt to the conditions it creates – rising sea levels, erratic rainfall, changing growing patterns and the like.
Now, even as they struggle with these changes, many people around the globe are facing another climate phenomenon – El Niño. This pattern of currents in the Pacific Ocean has shown in the past that it has the ability to bring the dreaded combination of drought and flooding to many areas in the world, particularly East and Southern Africa as well as Latin America. And it is showing that deadly combination once again today.
In numerous countries around the world, CRS works with farmers to build resilience in the face of changing rainfall patterns with improved agricultural techniques that include better seed and crop selection as well as upgraded conservation and irrigation practices. Through disaster preparedness programs in a number of countries, CRS helps people survive storms, rising sea levels and other climatic events with their homes and livelihoods intact.
Along with eight other agencies, CRS joined an African Union partnership to reach millions of rural families with climate-smart agriculture approaches that will allow them to produce nutritious and environmentally sustainable crops. CRS is also a contributing partner to the Climate Services for Resilient Development (CSRD) partnership, an alliance of public, private and non-governmental organizations.
CRS participated in a groundbreaking study, Tortillas on the Roaster, which documented the impact of climate change on the crops that many farmers in Central America depend on for their livelihood. CRS was also involved in the Caritas Internationalis Food Security Study, which identifies climate change as one of the top three contributors to food insecurity.
Climate Change Resources
- Ethiopia Suffers Worst Drought in 50 Years
- Signs of Resilience in the Face of Ethiopia's Worst Drought in 50 Years
- Building Resilience in Ethiopian Drought
- Living on the Edge of Climate Change
- Catholic Relief Services' Climate Change page
- Climate Change in Ethiopia: Counting Rains
- Climate Change: Reducing Risks in Ethiopia
- Climate Change: The World We Leave Our Children
- Helping Famers Adapt to Climate Change in Niger
Pope Francis' Encyclical, Laudato Si'
- Pope Francis' Encyclical, Laudato Si' (English version)
- Pope Francis and Climate Change: A Catholic Tradition, by Dr. Carolyn Woo on Huffington Post Impact
- Pope Francis' Encyclical on the Environment, by Ashley McKinless on America
- Pope Francis and 21st Century Stewardship, by Jonathan Liedl on National Catholic Register
- A Reader's Guide to Laudato Si', by National Catholic Reporter
- Assessing High-Impact Spots of Climate Change says that drybean production in an area of Central America will be harmed by climate change
- Tortillas on the Roaster documents the impact of climate change on farmers in Central America
- Caritas Internationalis Food Security Study identifies climate change as one of the top three contributors to food insecurity
- Toward Resilience is a guide to disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation
- Climate Change provides evidence of climate change and offers three strategies for addressing it
- Adapting to the Sahel's Changing Climate assesses the climate change threat in Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali, and identifies adaptation strategies.
Father James Martin, SJ, Dr. Carolyn Woo, and Cardinal Peter Turkson discuss Care for God's Creation in this video from a seven-part series on Catholic Social Teaching presented by the USCCB and Catholic Relief Services.
Quotes from Pope Francis
For questions about Catholic Relief Services' and climate change, contact Michael Hill.
Experts Available for Interviews
To arrange for an interview with the following CRS experts, contact Michael Hill.
- Joan Rosenhauer, Executive Vice President for U.S. Operations
- Lori Pearson, Senior Policy Advisor, Food Security and Agriculture
- Joe Curry, Country Representative for the Philippines
- Bill Rastetter, Country Representative for Niger and former Regional Director for West Africa
- Jefferson Shriver, Senior Technical Advisor for Value Chains and Market Linkage