On 18 June Pope Francis released his encyclical or ‘teaching letter’ on the environment and climate change. The eagerly awaited ‘Laudato Si’ on Care for the World sparked a strong response from international media that is unlikely to abate in the coming months as the world prepares for the Paris Climate Summit in December.
Even then, irrespective of the Summit outcome, this coalescence of faith and science is so compelling it is easy to see the joined forces as a turning point in the climate change debate.
The encyclical asserts the moral, ethical, social justice arguments while accepting the scientific evidence of climate change and its causes. It explores wealth disparity, sustainable development, consumption, market forces, coal and other fossil fuels and the impact on the planet.
Pope Francis criticises political inactivity, rampant consumerism and the negative human impact on the environment. He laments the impact on the poor and calls on all people to take urgent action.
On 28 June environmentalists joined religious leaders from across the globe in a march to the Vatican to show their support of Pope Francis’ ground breaking encyclical.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has thanked Pope Francis for taking such a strong stand on the need for urgent global action and his comments were re-enforced by his predecessor Kofi Annan. President Obama has also praised the encyclical. The Pope will address the UN and US Congress in September.
This year the IEU Biennial Environment Conference will be held in the context of this international climate debate. As in the previous three conferences, the program will provide information and practical strategies for the implementation of education for sustainability across the Australian curriculum. When the IEU Environment Committee presents this year’s conference on 16 October, the program will include the impact of the encyclical and educational issues around environmental ethics and social justice.
The Union is endorsed to provide QTC Registered Professional Development for teachers accredited at Proficient Teacher and this conference will provide five hours and 15 minutes registered PD for teachers towards maintaining Proficient teacher accreditation in NSW. The Union is also seeking similar endorsement from the TQI in the ACT.
To have your say on environmental issues or to share initiatives or resources through the IEU website, email email@example.com.