Do you think that global warming doesn’t exist and it doesn’t affect you?
The world as we know it is morphing into something unrecognisable unless WE aim to stop it. Hence, in 1972 the UN General Assembly designated June 5th as World Environment Day. Yes, global warming is hitting us in very real ways.
Why, We As Catholics Need To Be Concerned
We need to live our religion practically and one aspect is to revere God through nature. Pope Francis in his encyclical Laudato Si (Praised be to you, my Lord) on the environment has comprehensively covered this topic and asks of us, “What kind of world do you want to leave to children who are now growing up?”
The Effects Of Climate Change
He then goes on to say that we have come to see ourselves as lords and masters of the earth, entitled to plunder her at will. Climate change is a very real problem and one that will not solve itself. The repercussions of our actions include a rise in temperatures, acidic oceans, melting glaciers, unprecedented levels of pollution and copious landfills.
How Did We Get Here?
Fossil fuel combustion, industrial processes, agriculture, and forestry related activities emit substances such as nitrous oxide, carbon dioxide, and methane, which are greenhouse gases. They contribute to long-term climate change. Accumulation of plastic has had adverse effects on the environment, while over-hunting species has brought them to near extinction.
A Throw Away Culture
Another side effect that the Pope has highlighted in his encyclical is that of the ‘disposable culture’, coming up all around us. Use and throw away logic creates waste not only towards the environment, but has also started showcasing itself in our attitudes towards the unborn, the old and the poor, who are discarded as waste. We indulge in this when we do not question the source of our purchases or the outcome of our actions. Interdependence obliges us to think of one world with a common plan, the Pope emphases.
Climate change has become irreversible and NASA has suggested a two-pronged approach for countries to follow:
Mitigation- Reduce emissions of and stabilise the levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
Adaptation- Adapting to the climate change already in the pipeline.
What You Can Do
“An integral ecology is also made up of simple daily gestures which break with the logic of violence, exploitation and selfishness,” says the Pope. He suggests that we should also consider taking public transit, car-pooling, planting trees, turning off the lights and recycling. While necessary, these are just a small part of the change that is needed.
The onus is on us to elect officials for whom climate change is an agenda they aim to address. Opting for sustainable energy and green technology are just some of the things we need to be looking at.
Yes, the lord gave us dominion over the creatures of the earth not to decimate what remains, but he entrusted us to protect those who are defenceless.
By the word of the Lord his works are made; and all his creatures do his will. All these things live and remain forever; each creature is preserved to meet a particular need. (Sirach 42:15, 23)
Read Laudato Si
Learn the 5 Rs
- Refrain from buying or acquiring what you don’t really need
- Reduce what you need (i.e., create a sharing economy)
- Reuse what you consume
- Recycle what you can
- Rot the rest (i.e., compost everything you can!)
– Wynrica Rodrigues-Gonsalves