A climate catastrophe looms on the floodwaters of ignorance

Pope Francis and religious leaders made an appeal for the success of the COP26 climate summit being held in Glasgow, Scotland.

Nov 05, 2021

A journalist holds an interview under a globe at the World Leaders' Summit of the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow on Nov. 2. (Photo: AFP)

By Fr Shay Cullen

Pope Francis and religious leaders made an appeal for the success of the COP26 climate summit being held in Glasgow, Scotland. “Care for the environment is a moral imperative to preserve God’s creation for future generations,” the Pope said. “We have inherited a garden; we must not leave a desert to our children.”

We must face the unpleasant and painful truth that the earth is turning into a desert, affecting the planet and our lives. You may think that the climate catastrophe facing mankind is global warming, but in fact there are at least three catastrophes behind the disaster that Pope Francis has addressed in recent years.

The first one is the effect of the carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane which are covering the planet like a blanket and locking in the heat of the sun. It is like putting the planet in a greenhouse. The heat is causing devastating droughts, leaving millions of people without food. This is causing massive migration of the hungry populations from the south to the north. The earth and forests are burning. In Russia, Europe, the US and Australia, enormous forest fires destroy all before them.

The oceans are filling with plastic and heating up, reducing fish stocks, and the water is evaporating into clouds that bring massive rainstorms that overwhelm dams and rivers and cause floods of biblical proportions. Few forests are left because of massive deforestation of the Amazon and parts of Asia and Europe. Forests absorb carbon dioxide and hold excess rainwater. Animals are dying from droughts or floods, while landslides are burying villages. Rising sea levels and wind-driven tides due to the melting of the Arctic ice add to the destruction. This we see on our television screens already and there is much more to come.

The second catastrophe involves corrupt politicians in cahoots with moguls of giant multinational corporations that get them elected to office. They support the oil, gas and coal industries and allow global warming to happen by doing little or nothing to mitigate the gases or curbing the burning of fossil fuels.

The politicians and corporations are successfully persuading the public with lies and fake news that their pledges and promises are true. The facts indicate otherwise. US President Joe Biden seems more honest. He is proposing strong legislation to support industry to change to renewable energy — wind and solar — not promises.

The third catastrophe is the ignorance, blindness, apathy and indifference of the public worldwide to the truth of climate change. Many stupidly allow it to happen without protest or demanding to know how and why.

This indifference allows multinational corporations like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google, the telecommunication companies and the fossil fuel corporations to rise to great power. Their platforms control the data and news feeds which distort and manipulate the public. The message of COP26 will be controlled by them and they can continue to perpetuate their lies that there is no real danger to the planet that they cannot control. They will continue to rake in trillions of dollars in profit and rip off the people. How do they do it?

As Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who was executed for opposing Hitler, once said, the general public can be very stupid. They give up their independence and do not know it, but each person talks “with slogans, catchwords and the like that have taken possession of him. He is under a spell, blinded, misused and abused in his very being. Having thus become a mindless tool, the stupid person will also be capable of any evil — incapable of seeing that it is evil.” --ucanews.com

--Fr Shay Shay Cullen is an Irish Columban missionary who has worked in the Philippines since 1969. In 1974, he founded the Preda Foundation, a charitable organisation dedicated to protecting the rights of women and children and campaigning for freedom from sex slavery and human trafficking

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