A perfect storm can wipe out fishing, agriculture, and logging, which are the only livelihoods for many. Without a home or a livelihood, vulnerable people are forced to migrate, either internally or externally. Many end up living in city slums or displaced persons’ camps where the standard of living push them deeper into poverty and into health risks.
“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
Disregard for the duty to cultivate and maintain a proper relationship with my neighbor, for whose care and custody I am responsible, ruins my relationship with my own self, with the other, with God, and with the earth. When all these relationships are neglected, when justice no longer dwells in the land, the Bible tell us that life itself is endangered.
We don’t need business owners and moneychangers selling us a false bill of goods. We already have God. God gives our lives all the meaning and happiness we could ever need. By accumulating money and consuming things we distance our soul from this truth, and we deaden our senses to the beauties and pleasures that God gives us.
We are all called to hear “the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor” – to stand in solidarity with creation. Faced with the oftentimes difficult and scary task of discipleship, we can all take comfort from St. Paul’s counsel in today’s second reading: “If God is for us, who can be against us? … Who will bring a charge against God’s chosen ones? It is God who acquits us, who will condemn?” (Romans 8: 31 & 33)