May 19, 2008

Mass Lobby at Westminster

Sisters of Mercy joined the many Religious who gathered for the Mass Lobby against Climate Change at the Houses of Parliament, Westminster. Organised by CAFOD we were well briefed before we marched on the Houses of Parliament.

A message of support was received from the Cardinal Murphy O’Connor who acknowledged that people living in poverty already feel the effects of Global Warming. We are called to be true witnesses, to care for the earth and care for brothers and sisters around the world.

Climate Change cannot be seen in isolation; a total approach is needed. A healthy environment is necessary as the poorest and vulnerable are most affected.

Speakers included Fr Sean McDonagh, Chris Baines, Sr Nuala Mottley and Mark O’Dowd.

Greenhouse gas emissions cause Global Warming and as Religious we say something and we can do something. We can be a voice to make the Bill strong. We need decisive action.

Sean McDonagh spoke about the beautiful earth, the garden plant of the universe. We think it so robust but small changes can destroy it. Respect the law of nature.

Issues of Greenhouse Effect

John Paul II had a real concern for the Earth. In January 2001 he said:

“Humankind has disappointed God. We need ecological conversion. There will be no solution unless we take seriously our lifestyle.”

We have 20 years to bring down the carbon emission. We have a duty of stewardship. Earth cares for us – Gen 2:15 1:28. Service and commitment are needed.

“Conquer” does not mean abuse. Every creature needs care. The rainbow is the sign of the Covenant. We renew the Covenant each time we attend Mass. We are a Community of the Trinity. Jesus became matter when he became one of us.

A plundered, polluted and sick planet cannot sustain life. We cannot have the LIFE that Jesus promised.

A new age has dawned. Cosmic hope is a sign of a future in God. The spirit of God is in the world inspiring people and renewing the face of the earth.

Right relationship with God, ourselves and others. St Francis was a guiding light of hope - he speaks to the heart. Nature is never spent.

  • Walk more lightly on the earth
  • More sustainable living
  • Raise awareness and encourage

3 Important lobbying points.

Mark Dowd: Legislation - Climate Bill

Britain is the home of the industrial revolution. We have emitted carbon for years and it is only right that we should take a lead in this threat to our planet.

Britain is the first nation to try to put legislation in place to reduce our Carbon emissions and already 17 Governments have asked for advice. It is important that Britain gets it right.

  • It was agreed 8 years ago that a cut of 60% Carbon emissions by 2050 would suffice but recent research shows that 80% is more realistic.
  • Shipping and aviation are not included. If we are going first we must give a good example. Only 5% of people on the planet have ever been in a plane. Flying alone is going to be a threat to the targets.
  • The idea that we in Britain can contemplate selling off our Carbon to poorer to reach our targets in immoral.

25% of animals are threatened by Climate Change.

If we get it right we will be heroes. If we don’t we will be vilified.

Our role is to provide support and encouragement and model a sustainable path. We are serious about it. Our moral argument is important – The life of the world is at risk.

We have responsibility for those around us and all life.

CAFOD briefed the 300 plus religious who gathered at Methodist Central Hall, Westminster


We walked to the Houses of Parliament holding banners


We met our MPs who had been contacted in advance

The Sisters meet Jim Fitzpatrick, Minister for the Environment who happened to be our MP.

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