Category Archives: Climate Change

South Coast Catholic Environmental Network to Form

 Friday 8 July 2011

A gathering to form a Catholic sustainability network on the Gold Coast will take place at Marymount College, Burleigh Waters, at the end of July.

The gathering has been organised after several months of discussions and planning between the Archdiocesan Justice and Peace Commission and a small group of Gold Coast Catholics committed to environmentally responsible practices.

The Commission’s Executive Officer, Peter Arndt, said that the Commission has placed a high priority on supporting Catholics to embrace ecological sustainability in their parishes, schools, homes, workplaces and the community.

“Pope John Paul II called for an ‘ecological conversion’ in 1990 and we are trying to help Catholics to respond to that call,” Mr Arndt said.

The gathering will take place on Sunday 31 July from 11 a.m. to 3.30 p.m. in the Doyle Centre at Marymount College, Burleigh Waters.

“It seems very appropriate for us to hold this first gathering at the place where the Commission launched our very successful environmental project, Cool Communities, in 2003,” Mr Arndt said.

“Over 400 Catholic households participated in that project which helped them to find ways to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions,” he said.

“In the current circumstances where the impact of climate change is already being felt, it is important for us as Catholics to take action to care for the earth so that future generations do not face great difficulties,” he said.

The Director of Catholic Earthcare Australia, Luke Edwards, will speak about the ASSISI sustainability program at the gathering and the Gold Coast City Council and local environmental groups will give a presentation on what resources, opportunities and support is available for Catholics interested in promoting ecologically sustainable practices.

Mr Arndt said that an important part of the day would be discussions about what local Catholics are already doing in their schools, parishes and the community, what they would like to do in the future and what they need to take further steps.

It is also hoped that a number of local environmental groups will have displays at the gathering.

“The Commission wants to ensure that an opportunity for on-going gatherings, support and collaboration is provided,” he said.

“The Commission will endeavour to be a resource to support the maintenance and growth of this local network and its actions,” he said.

“If we get a good response on the South Coast, we hope this can spread to other parts of the Archdiocese,” he said.

“We think we can do a better job if we work with Catholics collaboratively in the communities where they live their faith,” he said.

Lunch, morning and afternoon tea will be provided.  Participants are asked to make a small donation to help with costs.

Bookings are appreciated.  Bookings and enquiries may be made by contacting Peter Arndt at arndtp@bne.catholic.net.au or 3336 9173.

For further information, please contact Peter Arndt on (07) 3336 9173 or 0409 265 476.

 

NB  This release is issued with the approval of the Commission or its Executive under the provision of its Mandate which enables it to speak in its own right.  The views expressed in it do not necessarily represent the views of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane.

Commission Issues Call for Climate Action


Monday 6 June 2011

 

 Brisbane’s Catholic Justice and Peace Commission today issued a statement calling for urgent and effective action on climate change.

The statement also called on Catholics to get involved in promoting effective action by government, industry and the community to address the serious threats posed by climate change.

The Commission’s Executive Officer, Peter Arndt, said that the Commission is concerned that too much time is being wasted by ill-informed debates about climate science and by self-interest.

“We think it is time for people in the community and the Church to stop wasting time debating whether climate change is happening and whether human beings are the cause,” Mr Arndt said.

“The reality is that the proposition that the earth is warming is supported by the vast majority of scientists who are prepared to publish their findings in scientific journals and subject themselves to the searching scrutiny of their fellow scientists,” he said.

“They also agree with almost total certainty that human activity has caused this,” he said.

“We cannot waste any more time because the consequences of delay will be dreadful for future generations,” he said.

The Commission’s statement refers to a recent report of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences which summarises information about the current evidence for climate change and recommends urgent action to reduce carbon emissions.

Mr Arndt said that the Commission did not feel it had the capacity to make judgments about the different mechanisms being proposed for bringing about a transition in the Australian economy in which carbon emissions are drastically reduced.

“We do, however, feel strongly that policies need to bring about significant reductions in carbon emissions and that this means a move away from burning of fossil fuels and towards the use of renewable energy as the Pontifical Academy of Sciences report recommends,” he said.

“The Commission also sees the need for an adequate response,” he said.

“Both sides of politics are currently committing to a 5% reduction in carbon emissions and this is not likely to be enough if we are to avoid massive problems down the track,” he said.

“The Commission also stresses that the plight of those already suffering the consequences of climate change such as those in Pacific island nations need to be remembered,” he said.

“Those who are poor and vulnerable in Australia also need to be protected from the economic consequences of a transition to renewable energy,” he said.

“The Commission calls on everyone to work together to come up with a plan which effectively addresses the threats of climate change,” he said.

“We want to see political and economic self-interest put aside in favour of protecting the long term interests of God’s creation, the whole human family and all the precious ecosystems which sustain us,” he said.

For further information, please contact Peter Arndt on (07) 3336 9173 or 0409 265 476.

NB  This release is issued with the approval of the Commission or its Executive under the provision of its Mandate which enables it to speak in its own right.  The views expressed in it do not necessarily represent the views of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane.

Lenten Call for Ecological Conversion

Monday 14 March 2011

 

Brisbane in Flood 2011 Tony Robertson

Brisbane in Flood 2011 Tony Robertson

Brisbane’s Catholic Justice and Peace Commission has urged Catholics to be open to the possibility of ecological conversion during Lent.

Pope John Paul II called for an “ecological conversion” in 1990 when he reflected on the significant environmental challenges facing the world today

The Commission’s Executive Officer, Peter Arndt, said that Pope Benedict has continued to call for Christians to respond to the environmental challenges threatening the world, especially climate change.

 

Lent is a time of repentance and it is a good time for us Christians to reflect on how we and our lifestyles have contributed to the ecological damage and threats the world faces today,” Mr Arndt said.p>

 

“As we make more time to pray and reflect on scripture, we can take the opportunity to consider to what extent we are wedded to the consumerist culture which dominates our society and contributes significantly to the ecological damage our earth has suffered,” he said.

 

“Our fasting, too, can take many forms,” he said.

 

“Not only can we give up some food during Lent, but we could also consider giving up some of the practices which release carbon into the atmosphere,” he said.

 

“Consciously reducing some of the activities and practices which use electricity or petrol can help us to find a path to spiritual renewal which embraces care for the earth,” he said.

 

“Lent can be an important opportunity for us to draw closer to God who created the world and to our sisters and brothers who are already facing the consequences of dangerous climate change,” he said.

 

“God is constantly inviting us to draw closer to our neighbours including Pacific Islanders whose homes are being threatened by rising sea levels and to support them in their time of need,” he said.

 

“Embracing the challenge to care for the earth certainly means changing the way we live,” he said.

 

“It also requires us to be prophets who challenge the dominant consumerist culture in our society and the political, business and community leaders who maintain it,” he said.

 

“If we care for the earth and our brothers and sisters in every part of it, we must not only change our own behaviour, but also challenge our leaders to change their behaviour too,” he said.

 

“In the face of the serious threat posed by dangerous climate change, we cannot stay silent while our political and business leaders engage in political games which do not have the best interests of the earth and its people in mind,” he said.

 

“Let’s turn away from our own destructive behaviours and have the courage to also call on our society to turn away from approaches which threaten our world with even greater damage,” he said.

 

For further information, please contact Peter Arndt on (07) 3336 9173 or 0409 265 476. 

 NB  This release is issued with the approval of the Commission or its Executive under the provision of its Mandate which enables it to speak in its own right.  The views expressed in it do not necessarily represent the views of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane. 

Heed Pope’s Call in Wake of Copenhagen

Sunday 20 December 2009

Brisbane’s Catholic Justice and Peace Commission has called on Catholics to heed Pope Benedict’s call for a greater sense of ecological responsibility in his 2010 World Day of Peace Message.

The Commission’s Executive Officer, Peter Arndt, said that concerted efforts were now needed by all people of goodwill to encourage and support the Australian Government’s efforts to implement and strengthen commitments contained in the Copenhagen Accord on climate change.

He said that, while many people committed to strong and urgent global action on climate change were very disappointed by the Copenhagen outcome, the agreement is a positive first step in a long journey towards an effective response to climate change.

“We should welcome the acknowledgement that global temperatures should be kept to below two degrees to avoid the worst consequences of climate change,” Mr Arndt said.

“It is also important that wealthy, developed nations have agreed to work towards a $100 billion a year fund to assist poorer countries to deal with the impact of climate change,” he said.

“And it is also vital that highly developed nations like the USA and significant emerging economies like China fulfill their commitment to control their greenhouse gas emissions,” he said.

“Despite these advances, we still have a long way to go if we are to have the ‘global solidarity’ for which Pope Benedict called in his World Day of Peace Message,” he said.

“Small island states like Tuvalu, low-lying Asian countries like Bangladesh and many poor countries in Africa are vulnerable to the damaging consequences of climate change and wealthy countries like Australia and the USA must not short change the people in these countries in their climate change action,” he said.

“The representatives of poorer countries expressed their exasperation with the unwillingness of the leaders of many wealthy countries to make a more wholehearted commitment to address climate change,” he said.

“If their concerns are not heard and addressed effectively, global tensions will mount and the peace we all long for will elude us, as the Pope indicates,” he said.

“Politicians around the world seem to be hampered in their response by the short term economic and political costs of an effective response to the threat of climate change,” he said.

“We must try to encourage our own leaders to embrace the ‘inter-generational solidarity’ which Pope benedict called for,” he said.

“We must not only encourage our leaders to take effective action for the sake of the many who will suffer serious consequences in the next couple of decades, but also commit ourselves to protecting the interests of future generations,” he said.

“Pope Benedict reminds us of the indivisible relationship between God, human beings and the created order,” he said.

“We must take care of the Earth if our relationship with God  is to be healthy,” he said.

For further information, please contact Peter Arndt on (07) 3336 9173 or 0409 265 476.

NB  This release is issued with the approval of the Commission or its Executive under the provision of its Charter which enables it to speak in its own right.  The views expressed in it do not necessarily represent the views of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane.

Traveston Crossing Dam Decision Opportunity for Re-Think

Monday 16 November 2009

Brisbane’s Catholic Justice and Peace Commission welcomed the decision by Federal Environment Minister,Peter Garret, to reject the Queensland Government’s plans to build a dam at Traveston Crossing on the Mary River.

In the wake of the decision, the Commission urged the Queensland Government to review its water security plans for South-East Queensland with a view to developing a genuinely sustainable plan.

The Commission’s Executive Officer, Peter Arndt, said that the proposed dam was not environmentally viable.

“The large number of conditions which Queensland’s Coordinator-General imposed on the proposal gave a clear indication of how many problems there were with the dam plan,” Mr Arndt said.

“Apart from the environmental cost, there has been a significant human cost for those many people whose lives were turned upside down by Government preparations for the dam,” he said.

Mr Arndt said that the Federal decision provides the State Government with an excellent opportunity to review its water security plan.

“We are very concerned that Premier Anna Bligh has already announced that her Government will build more desalination plants to replace the water which was to be supplied by the Traveston Crossing Dam,” he said.

“Desalination plants seem to be unsustainable as they use so much energy and create other problems in the environments used to source the water to be desalinated,” he said.

“It is worth pointing out that the original water security plan assumes a much higher per capita water consumption rate than now applies in South-East Queensland,” he said.

“Despite our water supplies improving markedly in the last year or so and the easing of restrictions, people in the South East are now using much less water than before and this should be taken into account in future plans,” he said.

“Water recycling needs to be a much bigger contributor to our water supply,” he said.

“We also do not know why our Government is not prepared to invest more money into stormwater recycling and re-use,” he said.

“The Federal Government has just provided grants to thirteen stormwater projects, mostly in Victoria and South Australia,” he said.

“Only one Queensland project proposed by the Southbank Corporation has been given grants by the Federal Government,” he said.

“We would be interested to know if the State Government has done much work on stormwater harvesting as an option,” he said.

“The rejection of the dam should give Premier Bligh a great opportunity to explore smaller and much less damaging innovations such as stormwater harvesting to secure our water supply into the future,” he said.

For further information, please contact Peter Arndt on (07) 3336 9173 or 0409 265 476.

NB  This release is issued with the approval of the Commission or its Executive under the provision of its Charter which enables it to speak in its own right.  The views expressed in it do not necessarily represent the views of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane.

 

Catholics Encouraged To Join Environmental Advocacy network

Monday 26 October 2009 

CJPC Climate Action 2009

CJPC Climate Action 2009

 Brisbane’s Catholic Justice and Peace Commission staged a public promotion for action on climate change in the centre of Brisbane as part of an International Day of Climate Action last Saturday 24 October.

Commission members and supporters held up a banner bearing the number ‘350” in Reddacliff Place in the heart of Brisbane and distributed information sheets on the importance of reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide levels.

The number on the Commission’s banner refers to the level of atmospheric carbon dioxide which scientists say is necessary to prevent serious environmental consequences.

The Commission’s Executive officer, Peter Arndt, said that world leaders must take action to reduce the current carbon dioxide level of 389 parts per million to the safe level of 350 parts per million proposed by climate scientists. “

We are already seeing dramatic changes caused by global warming and the whole world must take decisive action to stop even more dramatic damage and change in the next few decades,” Mr Arndt said.

“We have joined with millions of other people around the world today to tell our leaders that they must agree to action which will bring about a rapid reduction in the emission of carbon dioxide into the air,” he said.

“When leaders gather in Copenhagen this December, we want them to be clearly focussed on taking action which protects the lands and homes of low-lying countries and which limits the environmental degradation and change which future generations will face,” he said.

The Commission also used the event as an opportunity to invite Catholics in the Brisbane Archdiocese to join a network committed to action and advocacy on important environmental issues such as climate change.

Mr Arndt said that the Commission wanted to support Catholics who were already active in environmental advocacy and to connect them with other Catholics who wanted to do something to promote a sustainable future for the world.

“There are many Catholics who already believe that our faith requires us to do what we can to protect the Earth and its resources,” Mr Arndt said.

“We would like to see how we can support what is already happening on the ground and develop new initiatives in which Catholics can participate,” he said.

Catholics interested in joining the Commission’s environmental advocacy network are asked to contact the Commission by e-mail at arndtp@bne.catholic.net.au, by phoning (07) 3336 9173 or by writing to the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission, GPO Box 282, Brisbane Q 4001.

For further information, please contact Peter Arndt on (07) 3336 9173 or 0409 265 476.

NB This release is issued with the approval of the Commission or its Executive under the provision of its Charter which enables it to speak in its own right. The views expressed in it do not necessarily represent the views of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane.

Appeal for Commitment to Stronger Climate Change Action at Pacific Island Forum

Monday 3 August 2009

Brisbane’s Catholic Justice and Peace Commission has called on Australia’s Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, to make a commitment to stronger action on climate change at the Pacific Island Forum meeting which will take place in Cairns this week.

The Commission’s Executive Officer, Peter Arndt, said that Australia has to take stronger action to cut greenhouse gas pollution because it has a moral responsibility to respond to the plight of its Pacific Island neighbours who are facing the consequences of global warming now.

“Many Pacific Island nations are threatened by rising sea levels which are mostly caused by the carbon pollution of developed nations like Australia,” Mr Arndt said.

“We cannot turn a blind eye to the plight of neighbours like the Carteret Islanders who are already leaving their homes because they are going under the sea,” he said.

“The Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change recommended that we cut greenhouse gas emissions by 25 to 40 percent of 1990 levels by 2020, but our Government’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme commits us to much less than this,” he said.

“The Government’s scheme makes too many concessions to the biggest polluters in the country and makes it much more likely that both Australia and our Pacific neighbours will all face the most awful consequences in decades to come,” he said.

“The Prime Minister should be telling Pacific leaders meeting in Cairns this week that we will make a full-blooded commitment to making deep cuts in our greenhouse emissions within the next ten years and beyond,” he said.

“Mr Rudd should be telling them that we will encourage a rapid shift towards renewable energy,” he said.

“And he should be telling them that, as one of the countries which has been responsible for their problems, we will help them to deal with the problems they are now facing,” he said.

“The Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme will be voted on in the Federal Parliament a week after Pacific leaders meet in Cairns and it should be drastically changed to ensure that our response to the climate change crisis is adequate and realistic,” he said.

Mr Arndt said that the Commission has also urged Catholics to look for ways to respond to climate change in their own communities.

“Many parishes in our Archdiocese hosted World Youth Day pilgrims who come from Pacific Island nations seriously affected by the consequences of climate change,” Mr Arndt said.

“The Commission hopes that Catholics here will not forget their plight and take action to cut carbon pollution in their homes, parishes, schools and offices,” he said.

“We applaud what is being done by Brisbane Catholic Education and many individual schools in the Archdiocese to become more environmentally responsible,” he said.

There are also many great examples of religious congregations, parishes and individual Catholics taking action too,” he said.

“Australia’s Bishops have given us a great resource to help us in Catholic Earthcare Australia and Archbishop Bathersby, who was its inaugural Chair, has encouraged us all to be passionate about taking responsibility for the environment,” he said.

“Pope Benedict has also given us a lead by using renewable solar energy in the Vatican,” he said.

“There is much good work being done in our country and the Church, but much more needs to be done quickly if our Pacific neighbours are going to be able to deal with the consequences of climate change,” he said.

For further information, please contact Peter Arndt on (07) 3336 9173 or 0409 265 476.
NB  This release is issued with the approval of the Commission or its Executive under the provision of its Charter which enables it to speak in its own right.  The views expressed in it do not necessarily represent the views of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane.

Catholics Encouraged to Take Action on Climate Change

Monday 1 June 2009

World Environment Day 2009

World Environment Day 2009

Brisbane’s Catholic Justice and Peace Commission has encouraged Catholics to take action on climate change as part of their faith commitment.

The Commission’s Executive Officer, Peter Arndt, said that caring for the Earth and its resources is an important part of our Christian responsibility.

The call was made with the approach of World Environment Day on 5 June.

“We must take the threat of dangerous climate change seriously,” Mr Arndt said.

“It is very easy to create doubt in people’s minds and, unfortunately, that is exactly what a number of very vocal climate change skeptics have been doing,” he said.

“It is simply not sensible to embrace the views of a handful of scientists challenging the reality of accelerated climate change  and to dismiss the collective views of several thousand climate scientists from around the world who have assessed all the data and say that climate change is happening and is a serious threat,” he said.

“Too often, we hear the skeptics pointing to limited evidence to support their case and we do not hear the substantial counter arguments from eminent climate scientists,” he said.

“With so many eminent climate scientists supporting the case for accelerated and dangerous climate change on the basis of a wealth of scientific evidence, it is prudent for us to take action now as individuals, as a country and as a global community,” he said.

“If the  scientific evidence is right, there is no time to waste,” he said.

“We have a moral responsibility to take action now to protect the interests of future generations and the whole planet,” he said.

“To ignore these predictions, based on so much scientific evidence and supported by so many climate scientists, risks leaving our grandchildren and great- grandchildren with a truly awful legacy,” he said.

“one of the greatest obstacles to action on climate change is that it requires significant changes in the way we do things as individuals and as a society,” he said.

“But we know that we can deal with change if it is needed,” he said.

“Look at the magnificent way in which people in South-East Queensland accepted the need for change when we faced a serious water crisis in the last few years,” he said.

“We cannot afford to wait for ten or twenty years to see if the climate change models of scientists start to come true because we will have gone too far down the track by then,” he said.

“We encourage Catholics to make an effort to look at all the scientific evidence and not just the limited information put forward by a handful of scientists or by others who deny the reality of  climate change,” he said.

“When people see the overwhelming evidence presented by so many respected scientists, we believe that they will seek out information on what can be done by individuals to address the threat of dangerous climate change,” he said.

“And more and more people will add their voices to those calling for governments to act quickly and effectively on climate change,” he said.

For further information, please contact Peter Arndt on (07) 3336 9173 or 0409 265 476.

NB  This release is issued with the approval of the Commission or its Executive under the provision of its Charter which enables it to speak in its own right.  The views expressed in it do not necessarily represent the views of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane.

Earth Hour Should Be Followed Up

Earth Hour

Earth Hour

Monday 30 March 2009

Brisbane’s Catholic Justice and Peace Commission has urged Catholics to continue taking action to promote effective Government climate change policies.

The call was made following Earth Hour on Saturday 28 March when households and businesses were encouraged to turn off their lights for an hour to send a message about the need for strong and urgent action on climate change to Governments around the world.

The Commission’s Executive Officer, Peter Arndt, said that many Catholics would have joined community members around Australia by turning off their lights during Earth Hour.

“Pope Benedict, Pope John Paul II and Australia’s Bishops have encouraged Catholics to understand that caring for the earth is an important part of our faith,” Mr Arndt said.

“So, it is natural that many Catholics would have participated in Earth Hour as a way of acting to promote responsible management of our environment and earth’s resources,” he said.

“We hope that Catholics will try to continue to impress on our political leaders the need for strong action on the environment,” he said.

“Many Catholic parishes, schools and households are taking steps to reduce their contribution to the greenhouse gas pollution which has caused greatly accelerated climate change,” he said.

“Reducing use of electricity and other forms of energy, more responsible use of water and better waste management are some of the ways in which this is being done,” he said.

“We applaud these actions and encourage Catholics to continue their efforts to live more sustainably,” he said.

“However, we need Governments at all levels in Australia to develop policies which commit our nation to deeper cuts in greenhouse emissions so that our children and grandchildren will not have to deal with very serious environmental problems,” he said.

“We hope that the many Catholics who took part in Earth Hour will find the time in the coming months to keep sending messages to local MPs and the Federal and State Governments urging that strong and urgent action on climate change be taken,” he said.

“Serious long term problems like accelerated climate change will not go away but get much worse if we put them to one side to focus attention on serious short term problems like the current financial crisis,” he said.


“Governments must keep doing what is needed to effectively respond to the critical global warming problem while they are also helping people who have been caught up in the problems associated with the global financial crisis,” he said.

Mr Arndt said the Commission’s sustainability task group was working on initiatives to help parishes in their efforts to respond to the climate change crisis.

For further information, please contact Peter Arndt on (07) 3336 9173 or 0409 265 476.

NB This release is issued with the approval of the Commission or its Executive under the provision of its Charter which enables it to speak in its own right. The views expressed in it do not necessarily represent the views of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane.