Pope Francis in his recent address to the UN General Assembly covered a wide range of issues including the worrying issue of our environment. The climate is a common good, belonging to all and meant for all. There is solid scientific evidence and consensus that we are witnessing a disturbing warming of the climate system. In recent decades this warming has been accompanied by a constant rise in the sea level and, it would appear, by an increase of extreme weather events.
Lara Marlowe, correspondent with the Irish Times, Saturday, October 10, 2015 says in her article that scientists believe after five mass extinctions that transformed the world over the past four and a half billion years, we are now rushing headlong into a sixth mass extinction, but this time it is us human beings are the culprits. She draws from, the experience of Elizabeth Kolbert’s best-selling book, The Sixth Extinction; An UnNaturnal History.
Elizabeth Kolbert uses the example of how a giant asteroid collided with Earth with the force of 100 million megatonnes of TNT 66 million years ago, plunging the planet into cold and darkness, wiping out three-quarters of all species, including the dinosaurs. That cataclysm event was not explained ‘til 1980 by Walter Alvarez, a geologist, and his father, Luis, a physicist.
Each one of us is called to recognise the need for changes of lifestyle, production and consumption, in order to combat this warming or at least the human causes which produce or aggravate it. If present trends continue, our country, planet earth may well witness extraordinary climate change and an unprecedented destruction of ecosystems.
I may need an “ecological conversion” so that the effects of my encounter with my creator God become evident in my relationship with the world around me. Living out my call to be a protector of God’s handiwork is essential to a life of care for my common home; it is not an optional or a secondary aspect of my Christian experience.
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