A new group of 40 Catholic institutions are divesting from fossil fuel companies and investing in renewable energy as part of their response to the urgent call Pope Francis sounded in the Laudato Si’ encyclical and in response to the COP21 statement of Catholic Bishops from all continents. One year ago today, the Missionary Society of St. Columban announced that it would be divesting from fossil fuels over the next five years, and reinvesting in renewable energy: Seven Catholic Organizations Divest from Fossil Fuels on Occasion of Feast of St. Francis
“To know Creation is to know the Creator.” –St. Columban
For more than 30 years, Columban missionaries have been at the forefront of protecting the environment from destructive practices and addressing the urgency of climate change. Our mission experience of living with the natural world and with communities that have been marginalized and exploited impels us to seek ways to restore right relationships with all of Creation.
We advocate for bold action to address Climate Change.
In particular, human-induced climate change is the most serious and pressing ecological challenge facing the world today. The reality of climate change compels us to both personal and structural changes.
Climate change, largely driven by our reliance on fossil fuels, has led to extreme weather events, rising sea levels, severe droughts, a loss of biodiversity, food insecurity, and higher rates of migration which affect the poor and vulnerable in nations across the world.
Columban Missionaries around the globe stand in solidarity with communities impacted by climate change. In Burma and Peru, missionaries watch as glaciers, a main water and irrigation source, continue to disappear. In the Philippines and Fiji, extreme weather events and rising sea levels threaten coastal communities where agriculture and fishing are a main source of economic stability. Severe droughts cause food and water shortages in Pakistan and the U.S.
We advocate for sustainable development and agricultural systems.
Across the world, in countries that are rich in oil, gas and minerals, extractive industries have inflicted lasting damage to poor and indigenous communities and to Creation. Based on their experience in communities negatively affected by mining and other extractive projects, Columbans challenge this model of development based on the intensive exploitation of natural resources.
Large-scale agribusiness has also been detrimental to the land and people. Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) threaten the integrity of creation and the life God made good, and they have extremely damaging effects on the livelihoods of small-scale farmers and economies throughout the world.
We advocate for the right to water.
According to the Catholic Church, the right to water, as all human rights, finds its basis in human dignity and not in any kind of assessment that considers water merely as an economic good. Water, the basis for all human life, is a sacred source of life we must protect. Without adequate access to clean water, the health, nutrition, and sanitation of poor communities, and especially women and children, suffer. Without water, life is threatened.
Environmental Justice Resources:
- Download our Laudato Si’ Study and Action Guide
- Columban Creation Covenant
- Columban Statement on Climate Change
- Columban Statement on Water
- Columban Statement on Extractive Industries
- Current Statements and Press Releases
This year, Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew have challenged each of us to hear the cry of the earth and to attend to the needs of the marginalized. Both leaders have warned that the human environment and the natural environment are deteriorating together. This deterioration, they note, weighs most heavily upon the poor and vulnerable.
The discovery of massive amounts of coal under the sands of the Thar Parkar Desert, which has the potential to end [rolling blackouts] and provide for all of Pakistan’s energy needs for generations to come, is seen as a Godsend. But at what cost to the desert environment and its people today, and to future generations?
Any expert in the natural sciences can contribute to our appreciation of God's creation. Whether it be the intricate detail we see in the smallest flowers with the aid of microscopes or the images of distant galaxies provided by the Hubble Space Telescope, we are looking at what God has created. What does this tell us about God?
On Sunday, June 18, the church marks the second anniversary of Pope Francis’ ground-breaking encyclical letter, On Care for Our Common Home, otherwise known as Laudato Si’. Perhaps now, more than ever, with record-breaking rises in the earth’s temperatures, sea levels, droughts and floods and other extreme weather events, the nations of the world are taking notice. Even more, now, the teaching of Laudato Si’ is relevant, in the wake of the U.S.’ dramatic pull-out of the historic 2016 Paris Agreement...
Washington, DC—Today the administration announced its intent to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accord. Columbans serve communities across the globe who daily face the devastating impacts of a dramatically changing climate. Our mission experience of living with poor communities impacted by environmental degradation compels us to work for the full restoration of our relationships with all of Creation...