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Caring for our planet is a universal obligation – Mary Trainor RSM


One of the most important matters appearing in the media these days would have to be Climate Change, and calling on each and every one of us to check the facts, take a good look at our personal conduct, and the repercussions this may have on the broader spectrum.


 Caring for our planet is a universal obligation, and has to have multi national collaboration if it is going to achieve anything of lasting significance.


It is a relief to learn that our Prime Minister has succumbed to pressure and agreed to attend the forthcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow.


Australia may be an island continent and independent in lots of ways, but we can never claim isolation from the rest of the universe. Back in 2015, Pope Francis published an Encyclical letter entitled Laudato Si about ecology and climate and caring for our common home which has made excellent reading for lots of people.


To me, it’s a classic example of ensuring that faith needs to be expressed by appropriate well informed action.          Australia has long been accustomed to the traumas of drought, bushfires, floods and such, but less accustomed to asking the appropriate questions of what might be contributing to these disasters.


There are matters of greenhouse gas emissions, carbon dioxide coming from fossil fuels, and thoughtless usage and disposal of waste materials.  How careful are we about putting our garbage in the right bins? Do we really bother about what can be recycled?  Are we careful about reusable plastics?  Are we careful about our use of electricity, heating and cooling, cleaning and maintenance? Do the Pacific Islands surrounded by rising ocean levels endangering their inhabitance come to our notice?


If the world does not address climate change, these people will all have to be relocated from their island home which will no longer exist. The environment is like a precious heirloom that has been handed down from generation to generation.


 If we have a “treasure” of any kind or description, most people would take good care of it, keeping it protected from possible harm, and ensuring appropriate longevity so that it might be handed on to the next generation in its pristine condition.


Can we treat our environment the same way?


Can we support action now to reduce the causes of global warming?


In his Encyclical letter, Pope Francis states –


”Climate change is a global problem with grave implications: environmental, social, economic, political and for the distribution of goods. It represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day. Its worst impact will probably be felt by developing countries in coming decades.”(P.28. 25)


We can only hope and pray that the Glasgow conference will listen respectfully to all its participants and come up with wise, intelligent and practical strategies for the care of our planet – or as Francis says – Our common home.


And while this is action on a global level, we might also add the need for each and every human being in every country across the world to take practical steps in our daily lives to look after the air we breathe in our common home.


Article by Mary Trainor RSM, prepared for the Central Western Daily. Friday 22 October 2021


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