Creation / Ecology

Rare Steak not rare enough

Seán McDonagh, drawing on the wisdom of ‘Laudato Si’ brings to our attention the impact the consumption of meat is having on Humans and the Global Environment.
“We might think that this generation is merely following the tradition of our ancestors when it comes to eating meat. In reality the global meat industry has grown dramatically in recent decades. Between 1963 and 2014 meat production globally has grown from 78 million tons to 300 million tons.”
“to reach a healthy level of meat consumption, citizens of the United States would have to cut their meat consumption by two-thirds, while in Britain and Ireland we should be eating half as much meat as we do.”

How can we protect the Oceans?

Seán McDonagh continues to draw our attention to the wealth of knowledge and teaching there is to be gleaned from ‘Laudato Si’ and to the urgency of Pope Francis’ message.
“Coral reefs, for example, have declined by 40 percent worldwide. This has been caused by climate-change warming of the oceans and deforestation in the tropics. Even though they constitute only 1 per cent of the ocean seabed, coral reefs are home to 25 percent of the species of the ocean.”
“there is time for humans to halt the damage with effective programmes limiting the exploitation of the oceans.”

A Second Chance for some Endangered Species

Sean McDonagh keeps the teaching and insights of ‘Laudato Si’ before us.
“The destruction of biodiversity is a disaster for planet earth. Scientists now estimate that 100,000 species become extinct each year through deforestation, poaching and pollution. The current rate of extinction is estimated to be 1000 times what it would be in the absence of human intervention.”
But all is not bad news. Sean writes that “Amid all the gloom, there is a flicker of hope through targeted breeding programmes.”

The Paris treaty on Climate Change is a historic moment for humankind

Sean McDonagh comments on the multilateral treaty on climate change that was signed by 195 countries at the end of the Conference of the Parties (C0P21) in Paris.
“At most of the COPs which I attended during the past decade, the Catholic Church was barely visible, but at COP21 in Paris, the reverberations from Pope Francis’ powerful encyclical Laudato Si’ could be heard.”
“Despite major omissions, the Paris agreement demonstrates that global cooperation has the potential to steer us on to a safer path for both people and the planet.”

Put your foot down about climate change

Sean McDonagh reminds us that climate change is a moral problem for all Christians. Promoting the Christian message and its implications for climate change connects in real ways with people of all ages and backgrounds.
“Deirdre Duff, a student who spoke about climate change at the end of Mass, believes that Laudato Si is an incredible document which could not only help save our planet but which could also bring young people back to the Church. ‘I’ll admit that I used to be pretty bad for going to Mass, I’d only go once or twice a month. Then I went to Mass the Sunday after ‘Laudato Si’ was released and I haven’t missed Sunday Mass since. I realised that the Church did actually had an awful lot to teach me…I realised how awful I’d been to God’s creation and to His poorest people who were suffering from my actions in other parts of the world…it just woke me up! Then I simultaneously got to know and love both God and God’s creation in a way I had never had done before.”

Caring for our common home

Sean McDonagh tells us that Pope Francis’ encyclical is ‘ one of the most important documents to come from a Pope in the past one hundred-and-twenty years.’
‘Pope Francis is the first to acknowledge the magnitude of the ecological crisis, the urgency with which it must be faced and the irreversible nature of ecological damage.’
Sean reminds us though that while ‘this is a most exciting document, it is only a beginning. Real efforts and resources have to be placed behind it if this concern is to find its rightful place at the heart of Christian ministry.’

The Encyclical Ecology and Justice

Sean McDonagh keeps us informed about the forthcoming encyclical that deals with ecological issues. He includes a quote from Neil Thorns, the head of advocacy at England’s Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD), as saying that “the anticipation around Pope Francis’s forthcoming encyclical is unprecedented. We have seen thousands of our supporters commit to making sure their MPs know climate change is affecting the poorest communities.”
What will be the response of the church in Ireland and its bishops?

Lima’s call for Climate Action

Sean McDonagh gives his reaction to the report from COP20 in Lima.
The Lima document broke with all previous COPs where the burden of reducing greenhouse gases was placed squarely on the shoulders of rich countries which historically have been emitting carbon dioxide since the beginning of the industrial revolution. In Lima poor countries felt that rich countries were attempting to move the burden of reducing carbon dioxide emissions on to their shoulders.

The Challenges Facing COP 20

Seán McDonagh reports on the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Sean tells us of the work of 803 scientists. Their findings are very challenging and confirms that human influence on the climate system is clear, and recent anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases are the highest in history. Recent climate changes have had widespread impacts on human and natural systems. The warming of the climate system is unequivocal. Massive concerted global action is needed if we are to avoid the worst excesses of climate change.

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