Fr. McDonagh Bares Climate Change Risks

Oct 29th 2007

I nternationally known environmental advocate and author Fr. Sean McDonagh used catchy songs and vivid powerpoint images to enliven his presentation on “Climate Change in Asia: Its Ethics, Spirituality and Challenges” on September 20, 2007. The forum at the CFA Auditorium was the sixth offering in the CFA Coffeehouse Environmental Series this year.

Fr. Sean McDonagh is a Columban missionary, environmental crusader and educator. He is presently based at the Columban Fathers’ Headquarters in Navan, Country Meath, Ireland. He spent more than twenty good years of his life serving people in the Philippines, particularly the T’bolis of Mindanao. He is the co-founder of Lingkod Tao-Kalikasan, a movement actively campaigning against genetically-modified organisms.

Fr. McDonagh’s powerpoint presentation covered the highlights of his latest book, “Climate Change: The Challenge To Us All”. He explained the spiritual and moral issues of climate change, which elicited not a few questions from participants. Using eye-opening data and hard facts, he challenged the skepticism previously voiced by some sectors, even including the religious sector. He urged Church leaders to watch their own carbon consumption and greening strategies, and to support environmental education.

Fr. McDonagh endorsed the Greenpeace Campaign called Simple Lang, which proposes several front-end solutions to the problem of climate change. These are applicable to homes and offices, and can be carried out individually or collectively.

In response, Mr. Noel de Leon, Director of CFA’s Training, Electronic Media and Catechetical Cluster, noted that in an effort to be part of the solution, CFA has decided to adopt a green office policy. This may be a baby step, but small beginnings like office waste segregation, power and water conservation, carpooling, discouraging smoking and growing plants in office premises greatly help the environment.

In conclusion, Fr. McDonagh warned participants against complacency. He exhorted everyone to act immediately in his or her own spheres of influence, before our earth reaches the “tipping point”, which will set in train a series of disasters, such as drought and floods. These natural calamities have become increasingly more frequent and unpredictable due to climate change.

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