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26 May 2019
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Ecological Conversion

Hardly a day goes by without some reference being made to climate change; more often than not usually bad news about how the world is not treating the problem seriously enough, and in some extreme cases even denying its existence. Although our government has recently declared a “climate emergency” our performance at a national level suggests that we as a people are not treating the problem seriously enough and we have failed abysmally to achieve agreed targets. As always politicians, having one eye at all times on their re-election prospects, take their cue from the public, so who can blame them from deferring difficult decisions if the public as a whole don’t seem that concerned. On the other hand, (to quote but one example), if you lived in Mombasa, Kenya and were facing the prospect of up to 30% of the city being under water in a few years at the current rate of rise in sea water, you might take the matter a little more seriously. It might surprise you to know that, according to one source (ref. 1) “the majority of actions that need to be taken are already known, including in Ireland. …….. In many cases what would be required is not new exchequer resources, but elimination of incoherent policies, the recalibration of incentives and re-allocation of existing resources.” As usual it’s the poorest parts of the world that suffer most from the failure of the more prosperous countries “to care for our common home” (ref 2).

In his encyclical “Laudato Si” (“Praise be to you”), which is addressed to all people, Pope Francis states that “we need a conversation that includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all.

It seems to us we need to undergo an “ecological conversion” that leads to a change in action at a personal level combined with agitation for a change of priorities at a political level. For the moment let’s focus on what we can do as individuals, at a personal level. Each individual needs to consider how they need to change their current lifestyle to cherish rather than harm the natural world around them. The following few suggestions are put forward for your consideration. We would appreciate any other suggestions/comments you might have:

1) Refill plastic water bottles with tap water or use some other non-disposable container.
2) Fill your own mug with coffee/tea instead of using the plastic cups and straws provided by vendors
3) Always bring your own shopping bag instead of relying on the shop to provide same, either in paper or plastic
4) Petition supermarkets to remove unnecessary packaging and where possible replace with biodegradable packaging
5) Arrange a prayer walk in a natural environment to appreciate the splendour of creation realise our responsibility not to destroy God’s creation.
6) Use the themes in the Pope’s encyclical “Laudato Si” for sermons, inclusion in liturgical events, etc. to bring home the necessity of caring, for as opposed to exploiting our planet.

Please send any other suggestions you might have to: Lucan Justice and Peace Group, c/o Parish Centre, St. Mary’s, Lucan, for publication in future Newsletters. Let’s start the conversation in the hope of leading to ecological conversion. It’s not an exaggeration to say future generations depend on it.

(ref. 1, J.Curtin taken from Trocaire September 2017, “Still feeling the Heat”).
(ref. 2, Laudato Si – encyclical letter from Pope Francis)

Lucan Justice and Peace Group