What kind of world do we want to leave for the next generation?
This is a question that each human being in the world is compelled to answer, taking into consideration the huge changes that are taking place to our climate. The world that we inherited will not be the world that we will hand over to the next generation. People all over the world are experiencing the impacts of climate change and they are affecting people’s livelihood. Reports and data concerning climate change are truly alarming. The United Nations has taken the lead in encouraging world leaders to take immediate action to improve the current fragile nature of our world’s climate.
According to data provided by the UN, in the last two decade, average global temperatures rose by 0.85 degrees Celsius, average global sea levels rose by 19 cm and emissions of carbon dioxide worldwide have increased by almost 50 per cent since 1990. These are environmental issues that will have far reaching impacts on people’s lives everywhere, however those who will suffer the most will be the world’s poorest, most vulnerable communities. Responding to these alarming developments, the UN has successfully brought many nations together to address the impacts of climate change. On December 12th 2015, these nations adopted the Paris Agreement on climate change.
It is not only nations around the world, but individuals and groups too, who are concerned about climate change and its impact on human beings and their future. A reading of the impacts of climate change certainly raises concerns about our future and the future of the coming generations. Such is the concern, as we learnt in Module 2 of this Course, that “On September 25th 2015, countries adopted a set of goals to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all as part of a new sustainable development agenda. Each goal has specific targets to be achieved over the next 15 years.” This is an important step; an evaluation of these goals demonstrates the urgency and importance of caring for our common home. The United Nations envisages that all people will have to contribute to achieve these goals.
Pope Francis, the Spiritual head of the Catholic Church, through his encyclical Laudato Si: Caring for our Common Home, presents his concerns about these climatic changes and emphasises the need for all people to understand the possible repercussions of these changes and initiate necessary interventions to address these concerns.
This Module will look at the call from Pope Francis to Care for our Common Home and will examine the relationship of Ignatian Spirituality and the Environment. Having explored Social Justice in an earlier module, we will now also look at Ecological Justice. We will try to explore actions which could be implemented as responsible global citizens to maintain and sustain our earth, our common home.