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?
“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
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...
In April 2016, the United States joined nearly 200 other nations to officially sign the ‘Paris Agreement’, the ground-breaking international climate agreement that seeks to curb each nation’s contributions to climate change and its devastating effects. Columbans around the world celebrated this moment. As a global society, Columbans understand that the effects of climate change cross all borders, and therefore our response, must be immediate and international. The Paris Agreement is a crucial tool in protecting our common home...
On Friday, April 31, 2017, Catholics participated in a lobby day on Capitol Hill co-sponsored by Catholic Climate Covenant and the Columban Center for Advocacy & Outreach. The day began with a lobby training session facilitated by staff from both organizations. Jeremy Marcus, Deputy Chief of Staff and Legislative Director for Congressman Matt Cartwright, also helped train participants. Following the training session, participants visited lawmakers’ offices and made several legislative asks...
From March 15 – 30, the Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach helped to host a delegation of indigenous and pastoral leaders from the Pan-Amazonian Church Network (REPAM). Indigenous and pastoral leaders from communities in Brazil, Peru, Ecuador and Colombia, shared stories of survival and hope. They were accompanied by Cardinal Claudio Hummes, a Brazilian Franciscan, former archbishop of Sao Paulo Brazil, and a close friend and advisor to Pope Francis...
Thank you for your inspiring messages of solidarity and welcome! The delegation of Amazonian faith and indigenous leaders from the REPAM network brought your messages back home with them as they continue in their fight to protect their environments, spirituality, and way of life. During their time in D.C., these inspiring leaders taught us about the difficult realities of their communities, the ecological importance of the Amazon, and the urgency to answer the call in Laudato Si’ to care for creation...