Bishop praises youth for leading debate on climate change demos
The Bishop of Raphoe has applauded the hundreds of thousands of children and young people who recently took to the streets globally to demand climate justice.
“I support this mobilisation of young people and all those with a love for the environment to actively highlight the vulnerability of our fragile ecosystem,” Bishop Alan McGuckian, Chair of the Bishops’ Council for Justice and Peace, said, adding “I applaud their example of leadership in order to protect our future generations.”
On Friday, 20th September, hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets across the globe – from Canberra, Australia, and Kabul, Afghanistan, to Cape Town, South Africa, and Berlin, Germany – to demand that leaders tackle climate change.
Many were children who skipped school to take part in the second Global Climate Strike, following a similar event in March that drew large crowds.
The protests are partly inspired by the activism of Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, who has staged weekly demonstrations under the heading Fridays for Future over the past year, calling on world leaders to step up their efforts against climate change.
Bishop McGuckian cited Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical letter Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home, in which the Holy Father pointed out that caring for the planet is a moral duty in its own right.
Writing in Laudato Si’, the pope affirmed that ‘many things have to change course, but it is we human beings above all who need to change.
‘We lack an awareness of our common origin, of our mutual belonging, and of a future to be shared with everyone.
‘This basic awareness would enable the development of new convictions, attitudes and forms of life.
‘A great cultural, spiritual and educational challenge stands before us, and it will demand that we set out on the long path of renewal.’
Bishop McGuckian acknowledged that young people have been at the forefront of driving this renewal and insisted that the Council for Justice and Peace wish to stand with them in calling for a radical ecological conversion.
“We also wish to raise our voices for our sisters and brothers in the poorest parts of our world, who are already feeling the devastating effects of climate change. A grave injustice of climate degradation is that those who contributed least to the problem, will be affected most.
“As Pope Francis prepares for his Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops of the Amazon Basin next month on the theme ‘New Paths for the Church and for an Integral Ecology’, my key message today is: wherever we call home it is incumbent on all of us to live responsibly, and in a sustainable way, always thinking of our neighbour,” he added.
Picture: A young girl takes part in a protest organised by Stop Climate Chaos Coalition in Dublin, Ireland. (Brian Lawless/PA).Tags: Bishop Alan McGuckian, Bishop McGuckian, climate, climate change, protest, Raphoe, youth