The crisis of human-induced climate change, which threatens all life on Earth, is a key moral issue for the churches to address. Columban clergy, religious and laity involved in Justice, Peace and Ecology gathered in the Philippines in September 2007 to examine global warming and issued a statement saying that, “the endangered Earth demands a new prophetic way of being missionaries”. This followed the lead of Pope John Paul II who had urged Catholics to undergo an “ecological conversion”. Fr Peter Hughes and Ellen Teague attended from Britain and Fr Sean McDonagh, author of Climate Change: The challenge to all of us, from Ireland.
Columban research highlights that climate change is increasingly, and more severely, impacting on the whole Earth community. These impacts have different nuances in the various countries where Columbans work, including rising sea levels, the melting of glaciers, extinction of species and severe weather patterns.
Columban campaigning in Britain has involved support to Operation Noah, the churches climate change campaign which, along with Christian Ecology Link, organises an annual climate service every December in advance of UN negotiations; also the climate justice campaign of CAFOD. Columbans joined ‘The Wave’ in December 2009, where 60,000 people marched through London to call for action at the Johannesburg climate talks. Columban JPIC helped organise the service which preceeded ‘The Wave’ and was attended by 2,200 Christians and most Christian church leaders. These included Archbishop Vincent Nichols, head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales and four other Catholic bishops.
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