Much has been written about climate change. There seems to be clear evidence that a major change in our climate is going on right now. We know that this has happened before in history and in pre-human history.Some say the present change is caused by man while others say it's part of the cycle.
Some who say that it's part of a natural cycle accuse those who say it's man made as being scaremongers. Some of the latter accuse some of the former of being paid - or duped - PR people for groups such as the oil lobby.
I just don't know which side of the argument I accept but what I do see clearly is the fundamental importance of respecting all that God has created and of which he has made us stewards.
Pope Benedict's message is strong and reminds us of the relationship between God and us, made in his image, and the earth in which He has placed us, and the deadly effect on the lives of many now, such as the Brazilian children with the Pontiff in the photo above, and in the future caused by our lack of respect for creation, which is a form of rejection of our loving Creator.
I have highlighted parts of the Pope's message.
"The Earth is indeed a precious gift of the Creator Who, in designing its intrinsic order, has given us guidelines that assist us as stewards of His creation. Precisely from within this framework, the Church considers that matters concerning the environment and its protection are intimately linked with integral human development. In my recent Encyclical, 'Caritas in Veritate', I referred to such questions recalling the 'pressing moral need for renewed solidarity' not only between countries but also between individuals, since the natural environment is given by God to everyone, and so our use of it entails a personal responsibility towards humanity as a whole, particularly towards the poor and towards future generations.
"How important it is then, that the international community and individual governments send the right signals to their citizens and succeed in countering harmful ways of treating the environment! The economic and social costs of using up shared resources must be recognised with transparency and borne by those who incur them, and not by other peoples or future generations. The protection of the environment, and the safeguarding of resources and of the climate, oblige all leaders to act jointly, respecting the law and promoting solidarity with the weakest regions of the world. Together we can build an integral human development beneficial for all peoples, present and future, a development inspired by the values of charity in truth. For this to happen it is essential that the current model of global development be transformed through a greater, and shared, acceptance of responsibility for creation: this is demanded not only by environmental factors, but also by the scandal of hunger and human misery".
The Holy Father concluded by inviting participants in the UN summit "to enter into their discussions constructively and with generous courage. Indeed, we are all called to exercise responsible stewardship of creation, to use resources in such a way that every individual and community can live with dignity, and to develop 'that covenant between human beings and the environment, which should mirror the creative love of God'".
MESS/CLIMATE CHANGE/U.N. VIS 090924 (440)
You can find links to the video at the bottom of this page under 'Observor Missions'.
The three photos of nature were taken by Kurt Pala, a Columban seminarian here in the Philippines, whose father Theonilo, a professional diver, was killed almost two months ago in a work-related accident.