Responding to Climate Change

Responding to the recent IPCC Report a coalition of Catholic NGOS with a focus on development and climate change issues who operate in 120 countries worldwide have called for more wide-ranging and targetted action to address the issues raised in the report. There is a clear an present danger that we are now embarked up on a path that will see global temperatures rising by 3ºC. The survival of life on the planet calls for urgent action. We need action to reduce emissions that cause global warming.

Significant Environmental Damage

If we do not act now, the organisations argue, we are likely to incur serious environmental and habitat losses.
– the loss of significant biodiversity (something which is already occurring in our own immediate landscapes);
– the displacement of millions of people because of serious flooding in low-lying areas;
– a serious reduction in agricultural output which is likely to lead to local and regional famine;
– sea-level rises that are likely to cause difficulties for marine life, including the almost complete destruction of coral populations.

Call to Action

The only way to reduce the impact of human activity on the planet is for an international commitment and effort to develop new production and lifestyle paradigms. There is a need to reflect on the forms of industrial agriculture that have become the norm across the globe. We may need to abandon some forms of agriculture altogether (e.g. the dairy industry). We need to encourage ways of farming the land that are in harmony with the natural biodiversity rhythmns of nature itself. We must embrace renewable forms of energy such as wind, wave and solar. We need to begin moving towards more sustainable mass transit systems instead of our reliance on personal vehicular transport. Above all we need to reduce domestic consumption and its attendant non-recylable waste.

Rich countries must seek pathways towards sustainable economies that are not dependent upon unsustainable growth cycles. The emphasis on GDP as a measure of the well-being of our socieites is flowed. Instead we should introduce a human well-being index that pays attention to the interelationship of the biosphere and the human world. Economic progress measured in narrow production terms is putting our planet in danger.

For futher information see the CIDSE website here.

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