“Being at the Forum was like listening to a conversation that you wanted to hear.” That unique description by a member of the audience describes what took place at “Faith and Our Climate – Uniting Generations”.
Professor Dennis O’Hara took slightly more than ten minutes to identify the salient points of the recent (June 18, 2015) Papal Encyclical “Laudato Si”. His remarks were the start of an in-depth conversation between all members of the Panel, moderated by Dr. Stephen Scharper. The topics included the Encyclical, the Jewish Environmental Movement, the commitment of Anglican Bishops Worldwide to the fundamental statements in the Encyclical, the treatment of Aboriginal communities in Canada, and the efforts of activists to push pension funds to “de-carbonize” their holdings.
A quick way to get to the heart of the Forum, the Encyclical, is to access the Power Point Presentation of Professor O’Hara by following this link and clicking on link you will find embedded in the page. (When you get that far it should be simple to open the slide show you have down loaded.)
Professor O’Hara’s brief summary, taken from one of his slides, below contains the most radical (disturbing!) of the Pope’s observations! Yet we must recognize that his conclusions are supported by biblical scriptures, Catholic theology, and the life of St. Francis d’Assisi, from whom the Pope has taken his inspiration.
What’s new or specially identified!
1.intercommunion among Divine – human – rest of creation
2.humans are part of creation, not separate from it
a)social & eco justice are linked
b)strong causal link between suffering of poor & suffering of poor Earth
3.intrinsic value of each creature
4.overconsumption is a primary cause of climate change
5.need a radical change of culture
6.political & economic leaders have not done enough
Panelists at Climate Change Forum (left to right) – Dr. Stephen Scharper, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, U of T, Dr. Dennis O’Hara, Associate Professor, Faculty of Theology, University of Toronto, St. Michael’s College, Risa Alyson Cooper, Executive Director of Shoresh Jewish Environmental Programs, Rev. Andrea Budgey, Chaplain, Trinity College and Atiya Jaffar, M.A. coordinator of divestment campaign, 350.org