India mayor says climate change opening dungeon of slavery

2015-07-21 16:01
Mayors gather in the Synod Hall to attend a conference on Modern Slavery and Climate Change at the Vatican. (Gregorio Borgia, AP)

Mayors gather in the Synod Hall to attend a conference on Modern Slavery and Climate Change at the Vatican. (Gregorio Borgia, AP)

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Vatican City -The mayor of Kochi, India, is intimately familiar with the intertwined scourges of global warming and human slavery.

Speaking at a Vatican conference on Tuesday on the exploitation of Earth and its most vulnerable people, mayor Toni Chammany said the projected rise in sea levels as a result of global warming "is going to pose a big threat to the very survival of the city," which lies less than 2m above sea level.

As a whole, India is expecting another drought year, meaning more and more farmers will leave their land for the cities "pushing them into the dark dungeons of slavery," he said.

Chammany said, because of India's caste system, the country already knows "one of the worst forms of slavery known to man."

Pope Francis called the Vatican summit of mayors to put global warming and human slavery at the top of their national leaders' agendas.

Environmentally friendly mayors from around the world are gathering at the Vatican for a two-day conference rallying momentum ahead of Paris climate negotiations later this year.

Pope Francis is expected to address the meeting later on Tuesday. He's a new hero to the environmental movement, thanks to his recent encyclical denouncing the world's fossil fuel-based economy that he says exploits the poor and destroys the Earth.

The mayors are expected to sign a declaration at the end of the day demanding that their national leaders approve a "bold climate agreement" at Paris talks in December that keeps global warming at a safe limit for humanity.

Read more on:    pope francis  |  india  |  vatican city  |  climate change
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