GLOBAL WARMING – CALLING FOR AN
URGENT AND ETHICAL RESPONSE
By Sr. Brenda Walsh, Racine
In recent times, Pope Benedict XV1 called for a
worldwide change of mentality regarding the environment. He said "If
we do not act quickly and modify the way we treat the planet,
humanity could risk extinction. All governments must commit to
protecting nature and helping it fulfill its essential role for the
survival of humanity. We need to rethink totally our approach toward
nature. It is not just a playground or a space to be exploited. We
need precise and sustainable solutions to help humanity live its
WHAT IS GLOBAL WARMING? WHAT CAUSES GLOBAL
"Global warming is the current rise in the average
temperature of Earth’s oceans and atmosphere and its projected
continuum. The scientific consensus is that global warming is
occurring and was initiated by human activities, especially those
that increase concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere,
such as deforestation and burning of fossil fuels" Wikipedia, the
free encyclopedia (2/3)
Greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide accumulate
in the atmosphere. Use of fossil fuels is the main source of
greenhouse gases, as well as driving cars or trucks and other
vehicles. The rise in the temperature of earth’s resources and
atmosphere and ongoing human activities are creating excess
greenhouse gases that trap heat in the atmosphere and result in
global warming. We cannot deny the seriousness of the issue when we
see what has happened in the US in the past year and also in other
parts of the world. The natural disasters experienced by many should
be a wake-up call for all of us and find new and effective ways to
stop the problem. We need a new consciousness to change our ways and
avoid the mindless emissions of CO2 into the atmosphere. It affects
all people around the globe, and especially the poorest and most
WHAT CAN BE DONE TO EFFECTIVELY RESPOND TO
Today many faith groups and social
service organizations are exploring this question. Here
are some of their suggestions:
- Educate the members about the
importance of the issue and invite all to take
responsibility for changing the situation. Each
person has a part to play and no effort is too small
to make a difference. Children and youth should be
included to show them how to be good stewards of
- Invite all to take a look at
their lifestyles and adopt a more responsible way of
- Educate the members, including
children and youth to show how global is a moral
- Speak publicly about the
importance of the issue that affects so many lives.
- Urge legislators and the
President to address the issue before it is too
- Create alternative forms of clean
energy – such as wind turbines, solar power,
bio-mass and geothermal.
- Look into eco-friendly meals,
e-bulletins and eco-friendly dishes to replace all
the paper goods used and reduce garbage. Use
recycled and recyclable kitchenware.
- Grow and use greener foods, plant
community gardens, and support local urban farming
for healthy, fresh and sustainable food sources.
- Join other groups across faith
traditions and share new ideas and practices.
- Develop a more responsible
lifestyle in everyday life. Share ideas and ways to
put it into practice. Find ways to reduce energy use
for heating, cooling, light bulbs used, driving
habits, and the products used daily.
- Plant a tree or other plants that
absorb carbon dioxide and give off oxygen.
- Make buildings energy efficient
All are called to responsible stewardship and all
can contribute to the solutions to the problem. It will take courage
to face the facts about global warming and do something about them.
All must get involved with study, planning and action.
Some religious communities have started programs
to educate their members and the public about environmental issues.
The Racine Dominicans have such a program called the Racine
Dominican Eco-Justice Center. It is dedicated to environmental
education, and care of the Earth in the context of community,
contemplation, creativity and cultivation.