The countdown to the international climate negotiations in Paris, officially called the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21), has begun. World leaders will gather in Paris from November 30th to December 11th to reach a universal agreement to reverse climate change. One of the topics of discussion will be the practice of fracking. Columbans in many areas of the world accompany poor communities that suffer from harmful mining practices...
“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
Pope Francis’ words to the American people on his U.S. visit made one point very clear: we must act now to protect and preserve our common home. In order to do this, the pope called on members of the legislature, during his historic address to Congress, to work together and transcend boundaries in order to, ‘defend and preserve the dignity of your fellow citizens in the tireless and demanding pursuit of the common good.’ A recent resolution...
Pope Francis’s historic visit to the United States is over, but we are still standing in awe of his message of peace, solidarity, and love. In his addresses to Congress, the United Nations, and the World Meeting of Families, the pope consistently returned to a few key themes: responding with justice to the poor, welcoming the immigrant and caring for creation. Columbans in the U.S. and around the world welcomed and celebrated these messages. During his visit, we fasted with the Global Catholic Climate Movement, stood...
Join us for a special global day of prayer for creation! Pope Francis has declared September 1 to be the World Day of Prayer for Care for Creation. He is doing his part to respond to the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor. Will you join us? It starts with prayer. As a community, make use of the Columban Season of Creation prayer resource. There’s a prayer and worship guide for each Sunday in September. As an individual, we offer this prayer from Laudato Si’...
Last week, President Obama released a historic step toward reducing our carbon footprint—the Clean Power Plan. The first of its kind, the Clean Power Plan seeks to reduce carbon emissions from power plants in the United States (our country's single greatest source of climate pollution) and do our part in addressing global climate change. The Clean Power Plan is significant and do-able. The scientific consensus is that climate change is a global crisis and each nation needs to do its part to reduce carbon...
Columban missionaries welcome and celebrate the release of the Obama Administration’s highly anticipated Clean Power Plan, which will require states to drastically limit carbon pollution emitted by power plants. Scott Wright, Director of the Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach, said: “Since the Clean Power Plan was first announced, Columbans have been actively engaging with the faith community, the Environmental Protection Agency, and Columban missionaries serving the...
Praised be! Columban missionaries welcome and celebrate Pope Francis’ newly released encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si’. This encyclical marks a historic moment in the Church as the first encyclical addressing the human relationship with all of God’s creation. Laudato Si’ deepens the contributions of previous papal documents that addressed the relationship between humans and the natural world. Pope Francis asks, “What kind of world do we want to leave to...