Columban Fr. Shay Cullen in the Philippines writes about climate change and how we must use our strength to protect Mother Earth.

Have you ever seen the sun set upon the sea;
the migrating birds fly in formation proud?
Have you ever seen the mighty forest and heard the birds sing clear and loud?
Have you seen the flowers in the meadows and the fields
that provide the nectar for the bee;
That gives the honey in the hive hanging from the tree?
Have you ever seen the dolphins race across the ocean wave;
The mighty whales that swim the oceans strong and brave?
A breathless sight of beauty you will ever see
If we will just allow them to live and to be.

We inhabit a most amazing planet filled with life forms and hundreds of thousands of amazing creatures, animals, birds, insects, and fish. In the natural world, the living forests, plants and oceans make up an evolving integrated planet with us humans. We, the creatures that have a developed brain and a consciousness have the responsibility to preserve it.

We are the ones that can admire, appreciate, and wonder at the beauty of the environment and the universe. We are the thinking conscience of the universe. We can know good and bad and we have unique free will to choose one or the other. That is what makes us human and different from the other creatures with whom we share life with on this climate-sensitive planet.

We humans are changing Mother Earth dramatically by the lifestyles that we have chosen and the industrial machines and methods we have created to maintain that lifestyle. Our way of living together, travelling, warming and cooling ourselves, producing our food and disposing off the material we manufacture is affecting the environment and the planet itself.

We humans are industrious, inventive, creative, intelligent, kind and, loving creatures to each other and the ecology and environment, but many of us are also something else. Many of our species have chosen to act on their lower, thoughtless basic instincts to possess and control others to achieve and satisfy desires and appetites. This impacts the human environment. They act with violence and other negative impulses born perhaps from childhood neglect, abuse, deprivation or the evil example of other influencers. They act in anger with violence, against the human environment, the human community and inflict hurt and pain on others.

Some become intoxicated with power and destructive tendencies over their communities. They persecute and kill those that refuse to be subjugated, dominated and abused. These are the tyrants and dictators, and not only do they kill and destroy those who do not approve of them, they attack the environment too. Their self-serving policies expand industrial exploitation of the environment and exploit our natural resources. Their goal is to increase their personal wealth and political power and so all creatures, the environment as well as the planet greatly suffer. They are the humans that allow big and small corporations to destroy the forests and the oceans and create a destructive industrial juggernaut that leaves disorganised citizens divided and powerless.

We must not be silenced or intimidated. We must stand for the earth, act to stop the destruction on a political scale, on a community level and in our personal capacity. When people unite and speak with one voice, they have power to change the world and corrupt politicians unless they are shot and massacred. The environmental destruction by industry that is causing climate change has to be challenged. Climate fluctuations that damage sustainable food production and the natural world needs to be tackled. Politicians in conspiracy with the industrial leaders, driven by greed are foremost in destroying the planet.

Australia is an example where government policy supports the coal extraction industry. It is the biggest exporter of coal in the world. The emissions produced by the coal they export is equal to 3.3 percent of global emissions. Added to domestically-produced emissions of CO2, means Australia contributes 4.8 percent of the world’s CO2 emissions and is a major contributor to dangerous climate change. If we add to this the emissions from natural gas exports, it is an even bigger footprint and a bigger responsibility. The super cold snap in Australia of late is a direct result of climate change it seems.

The Australian political industrial complex has to be held accountable and drastically change direction to protect the environment. That is a decision that only the Australian people can make by voting into power a green, environmental-friendly government. Australia is now the sixth biggest polluter of the environment after China, the United States, Russia, India and Indonesia. Australia and these countries should choose to obey the principle, “Do no Harm.” However, since basic instincts of greed, money and power are dominating the ruling elites and political establishments of these countries, there is no place for principles of caring and compassion for the people and for the planet.

There is good news however. The global awareness of the damage and negative effects of climate change has businesses concerned enough to commit to change. A survey by Deloitte in recent months shows that 80 percent of businesses and corporate executives have expressed serious concern about the impact of climate change and are planning to take mitigating action to address it. But will they?

The Climate Check Report surveyed 750 executives in January and February 2021 and found that 30 percent of them said that climate change is affecting their businesses causing a scarcity of resources and supply chain problems. Self-interest may also bring concern for the environment. Political awareness building and peaceful social activism is having a positive effect. School children in Australia have taken to the streets to protest against coal production. Greta Thunberg is leading a global movement to stop industry burning fossil fuels and to build renewable energy sources. Now 18 years old, she blasts the empty promises of world leaders who do nothing positive but allow the destruction of the Amazon rain forests.

If we want to continue to admire the forests, the dolphins, the birds and creatures of the planet, we have to preserve and protect it with all our strength.

Find out more

Find out more about PREDA, founded by Columban Fr. Shay Cullen.