Climate Change - Time for Action! 

Praised be You, my Lord, through Brother Wind,
and through the air, cloudy and serene,
and every kind of weather,
through whom You give sustenance to Your creatures.

- St. Francis of Assisi 

Clouds over Connemara landscape, Co. Galway
 

Life Depends on Climate

While Francis was not referring to the phenomenon of Climate Change in his canticle since it wasn't known then, clearly he was aware of the importance of climate and the atmosphere for sustaining life on earth. Although Francis lived in the 13th century, his insight into the kinship relationship we have with everyone and everything else around us is now being verified by scientists. Today we are beginning to realise that how we live on this planet effects planetary systems such as Climate, and the effects of our lifestyles can be felt thousands of miles away by people on the far side of the globe!

Dandelion near Spiddal, Co. Galway

Climate Change - Poor will Suffer!

Hopefully by now, most people are aware of the phenomenon of Climate Change, and how it is already having a devastating impact on the lives of millions of people worldwide. The 55,000 people of the Maldives off the Indian coast fear losing their very homeland due to rising sea levels. It is widely understood that climate change is being caused by human activity particularly the burning of fossil fuels such as  oil, coal and gas  to  produce energy for our homes and for industry, for our cars and for all sorts of transport which are emitting excessive amounts of carbon dioxide into the air causing global warming.

Dark clouds over Galway Bay 

Climate Change is a justice issue for the poor since it is they who will suffer most from the effects of Climate Change even though it has been the rich nations who have caused it for the most part. Some of its effects are droughts, flooding, harvest failure, and loss of livelihood. Climate Change also threatens peace and stability in many regions as  fresh water and productive land become scarse. It is also an ecological crisis as the great  ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica and many important glaciers melt at unprecedented rates and many species face extinction as they lose their habitats too quickly for them to adapt to new environments.

Clouds over Galway Bay, Co. Galway

Everybody has a part to play

This is an urgent issue! It might already be too late to reverse Climate Change but it might  be possible to limit the consequences if we act now. We need to work together to bring about a global reduction in carbon dioxide emissions in order at least to slow down Climate Change.

What can we do?

We can plead with our political, religious & business  leaders  to voice our concerns for  effective action on Climate Change and to take the necessary decisions to make our neighbourhood or town or city a low emissions zone thereby challenging other neighbourhoods to do likewise. As people inspired by St. Francis, lover of the poor, peacemaker and patron saint of ecology, what else can we do?


Additional Reading:

Catholic Bishops' Reflection on Climate Change, The Cry of the Earth (Irish Catholic Bishops' Conference, 2009)

Hickey, Kieran, Five Minutes to Midnight? Ireland and Climate Change (Belfast, The White Row Press, 2008)

The barren landscape of the Burren, Co. Clare
 

"Climate is the broadest, deepest, most intricate system on earth.

It controls everything else: water, land, the sun, food.

It makes some places desirable, other places undesirable;

some places habitable, other places uninhabitable.

The quality of the "space" for humans

and other life-forms depends on climate."

- Sallie McFague

 

 

Praised be You

my Lord

with all

Your creatures

- St. Francis