What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up? (LS160). Columban Father Sean McDonagh, one of the foremost Catholic proponents of raising ecological awareness, is a well-respected author on eco-theological matters and one of the consultants drafting Pope Francis’ environmental encyclical Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home. Father McDonagh hails the encyclical as the preeminent call to save “our Sister, Mother Earth” and protect the...
“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
Exactly one year ago, on June 18, Pope Francis issued his ground-breaking encyclical “On Care for Our Common Home,” known by its Latin name as Laudato Si', which recalls the beautiful words of St. Francis’ canticle in praise of the entire creation. Globally, the response to the encyclical from the media, the major faith traditions and ordinary people has been phenomenal. As we approach the one year anniversary of its publication, the challenge, in the words of Irish missionary Donal Dorr, is for...
In the southern Sindh province of Pakistan, access to water is becoming more and more unpredictable. Over the last few years, weather conditions have grown increasingly extreme, from massive flooding to prolonged droughts. These conditions leave the Pakistani people without clean water, and crops, and often without livelihoods. Fr. Tomás King, a Columban living and working in Pakistan for the past 22 years, has watched the devastating effects of...
Today, on Earth Day, countries around the world gather to sign the Paris Agreement on Climate Change at a ceremony at the United Nations headquarters in New York City. On December 12, 2015, nearly 200 countries officially agreed to an international climate agreement in Paris that aimed to cut global carbon emissions and keep the global temperature well below 2°C of global warming, compared to pre-industrial levels. Today, April 22, marks the first day that nations can...
In his papal encyclical letter Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home, Pope Francis urgently asks “every person living on this planet” to see and take responsibility for what environmental degradation is doing to the earth ─ “our common home” ─ and the vulnerable poor. Pope Francis goes further and asks for changes in our economy and lifestyles in order to save our common home. He asks us to reflect on these types of questions: Do we see the environmental crisis that is causing among other things...
On April 22, people around the world will commemorate Earth Day, which was first celebrated in 1970. On that day, the United States and China will join other governments to sign the Paris Agreement on Climate Change at the United Nations’ headquarters in New York. As the two biggest polluters in the world, the U.S. and China account for nearly 40 percent of the global emissions.At the other end of the spectrum, as island nations who are most vulnerable to rising sea levels and extreme...
While this agreement represents a commitment from over 190 nations to lower their emissions and support those hit by climate change the hardest, it is only a first step in the process. We must now work to hold ourselves and our governments accountable to the steps necessary to accomplish the goals in the agreement. Show your commitment to caring for creation: sign the Interfaith Climate Change...
For years, Berta and the Lenca communities fought to block the Agua Zarca hydroelectric dam. The dam would have flooded large areas of land and cut off the supply of water, food and medicine for the Lenca peoples. Berta was one of many activists who had been persecuted and received death threats for her work to defend their sacred rivers, forests and lands from further desecration. Take Action for the protection of environmental activists and their communities!