Mercy Global Action: Mercy and the Degradation of Earth
Bridget Crisp rsm (Aotearoa New Zealand): 'Degradation of the Earth:
The Impact on the Planet Seen Through the Works of Mercy'
When using the eight Works of Mercy as a lens, the following provides a brief reflection of the impact of climate change on all aspects of society. This snapshot is generalised and can be added to and extended to critique the position your country is responding to at this time. —Bridget Crisp rsm
Feed the Hungry
Climate change impacts food security: after all, we need to eat. Unpredictable weather, like intense storms or longer than usual dry spells can lead to extensive crop failure. Widespread crop failure can cause food prices, particularly fruit and vegetables to become more expensive. The group most impacted by a rise in price in food are those families on low incomes. Diet is compromised, leading to an increase in other health related issues. This is a brief synopsis of what can happen on a localised level. Short seasonal variations will eventually stabilize and food prices lower.
What we have seen in recent years, is more prolonged drought and an increase in the frequency of intense storms that are more difficult to recover from. In some cases, whole nations are impacted. Imagine the impact of a nation whose main crop to feed the population as well as provide much needed income, fails because of a lack of rain or too much rain? This can also be seen with hunger and starvation, vulnerable nations may find themselves in debt, unable to buy food to feed their people or maintain essential services like clean water or health services. The impact of such an event on vulnerable nations will impact its people for generations to come.
Our consciousness about the impact of climate change on the planet, as well as the impact of human activity on the environment is growing. We are becoming more aware of where our food comes from and what chemicals may be used to grow our food. We are encouraged to lower our carbon footprint by moving towards a primarily plant-based diet rather than a meat-based diet. To choose organic over chemical industrialised methods. The power of the consumer is pushed to help make that change.
I want to draw attention to hunger of other species happening specifically in the marine environment as a result of human activity. Fish are eating micro plastic waste which is becoming embedded into the flesh of fish. This is beginning to enter the food chain when other animals including humans, eat fish.
Plastic waste continues to be major issue around the world. This fossil-fuel based product is so durable that it will take well over 100 years to breakdown. Many discarded plastic-based packaging materials enter waterways and eventually into the sea. It may float and appear like something edible to many marine animals and sea birds. The plastic will build up in their stomachs, as it is unable to be broken down – thereby causing the animal or bird to starve. (See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pUM58LIU2Lo )
An action to consider: The next time you go food shopping pay attention to where your food has come from. How many food miles/kilometres has your food travelled? What packaging has gone into your food? Perhaps also consider the carbon footprint of the food you are purchasing? (The more processing involved, the higher the footprint). There are many online websites to help you calculate this. Try and find a website from your country to give a more accurate reading on food miles/kilometres.
Spanish translation using DeepL Translator. Traducción al español con DeepL Translator
Bridget Crisp is a religious sister of Nga Whaea Atawhai o Aotearoa Sisters of Mercy New Zealand. She has an academic background in Agriculture, Development Studies, Teaching and Theology. Bridget has worked as an intern at the Mercy Global Action Desk at the United Nations in New York and is currently the Mercy Global Action Co-ordinator for New Zealand. She works part time at Pax Christi Aotearoa New Zealand and is passionate about the Environment and Social Justice.
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