Call to action

Mitch MacDonald
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Letter from Pope Francis calls on all people to take active role in fighting climate change, says religious scholar

STRATFORD - A recent call to action on climate change by Pope Francis is not limited to only Catholics, a guest speaker from Saint Paul's University in Ottawa told a crowd of nearly 100 yesterday.


Heather Eaton, a Catholic theologian and professor, shared the message during Sunday's 24th annual Daniel O'Hanley Memorial Lecture held at the Our Lady of Assumption Parish.


Eaton's lecture, themed "Pope Francis: Climate Change Hurts the Poor Most," was based on the Pope's encyclical "Laudato Si" on the environment and human ecology released this past summer.


The call to action was released in the buildup to this month's climate summit in Paris and encouraged all individuals to fight global warming on the grounds that it affects a number of other aspects of life, such as economical and social issues.


"It's a good statement and we should support it... it's written for the world, it's not written with just a Christian view in mind," Eaton said during an interview with The Guardian. "It's a call to action for everyone in the world; believers, non-believers, religious and non-religious. And it's the first time a pope has written any kind of letter of its length or depth on ecological reasons."


The document, which can be found online, delves into the specifics of how climate change has an effect of poverty as well as biodiversity.


It also calls on citizens of the world's richer countries to take a greater responsibility in battling climate change.


"Be aware that the affluence in this part of the world is creating poverty in other areas of the world," said Eaton. "That's a great deal of concern for the most vulnerable people of the world."


The idea that climate change affects some of humanity's most vulnerable was also shared during a march held prior to the lecture.


Nearly 100 Islanders took part in the march, which urged for a stronger response in dealing with climate change.


The march also occurred two days after the federal government announced it would spend $2.65 billion over the next five years to help developing countries fight climate change.


Eaton said the ecological crisis stemming from global warming is the defining issue for humanity and the planet today.


She said it is affecting everything from economical and political issues to those of social justice.


"It's not just climate change, it's species extinction, it's water and pollution, the loss of biodiversity. It's affecting the planet at such a profound level and most people in this part of the world aren't particularly aware of it," she said. "We just have to get our act together."



Organizations: Saint Paul's University

Geographic location: STRATFORD, Ottawa, Paris

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Recent comments

  • Let Truth Prevail
    November 30, 2015 - 09:01

    Perhaps, alternatively, if the pope opened the vaults of wealth within the vatican there would be no one without -- just like the apostles did in Acts 2 and 4, when people repented and were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and received the gift of the Holy Ghost. In those examples too, these even sold what they owned and distributed the wealth among them so that no one was poor ...

  • mary
    November 30, 2015 - 05:36

    Canada PEI are way ahead of the rest of the world on this issue so stop spending more money until the rest of the world catches up!

  • Jim
    November 30, 2015 - 05:27

    No point in fighting climate change. You are fighting nature and nature will win. Pollution like the crap Montreal dumped into The St Lawrence River. And the poisons we spray onto our lawns and golf courses we can do something about . But we won`t because it is money that decides about those things.And if people die because of that,it just the price of doing business .