Church & Government Agree: Climate Change Very Real

Atty. Mary Ann Sering during the Communicating Climate Change Forum last March 31, 2017. (Photo credit: Fr. Arnulfo Alindayu, OCarm)

You cannot put this issue behind and say it’s not important when Yolanda kills 7,000 people in one day,” stressed environmental lawyer Atty. Mary Ann Lucille Sering on the reality of climate change during the forum Communicating Climate Change held at the Titus Brandsma Media Center in New Manila, Quezon City.

According to Sering, it has been 20 years since the world’s governments started debating about climate change but has not been able to agree on it due to politics until recently in the Paris negotiations where the long-rallied for 1.5 degrees C temperature goal has been approved.

She said that the Philippines, despite President Duterte’s misgivings, is now officially part of the global move towards climate change adaptation and mitigation thanks to champions like Senator Loren Legarda who pushed it for ratification and signature.

If we reach 2 degrees C, it’s already a point of no return,” she emphasized. Addressing climate change is not just about saving lives, it’s about the economy, it’s about money. No one, especially big countries, want to change their lifestyle but humanity needs a change in lifestyle.”

She added that “if we know how to adapt and reduce our risk, we will not be miserable” because “if you change the way you power your economy, you decrease your emission”, which can likewise force change since demand corresponds to supply.

On a similar note, Chair of the Ecological Justice Interfaith Movement (EcoJIM) Fr. Dexter Toledo, M.A.Th. declared, The problem of the environment is not just economic and political, it is also a spiritual problem.”

Fr. Dexter Toledo during the Communicating Climate Change Forum last March 31, 2017

The continued acceleration of changes affecting humanity and the planet is coupled today with a more intensified pace of life and work which might be called rapidification,” he said citing Pope Francis’ Encyclical Laudato Si.

This rapidification includes the negative effects of social media as a new form of gluttony wherein the accumulation of data and the use of gadgets are the ones controlling us–making these devices and the digital world more important than people and nature.

Echoing the need for a change in lifestyle, he stressed that the generation today need “to disconnect to reconnect”. He said we are stewards not lords of the earth as fully emphasized in the Book of Genesis. Adding the reason behind the Pope indicating the importance of man’s relationship to nature in the encyclical.

You cannot discuss the environment without real talk, real intimacy and it should circle around our relationships,” he ended.

Held last March 31, Communicating Climate Change was meant to celebrate Carmelite Communication Day by inviting members of the Media for a deeper understanding on the said issue. The Diocese of Novaliches Social Communications and Media Ministry (SocComm Nova) were among those invited, which included representatives from Religious Congregations, the Government, and parishes. (~Lulu Reclusado-Nario)