The Climate Strike is taking place across the world today: school pupils will refuse to go to school and instead protest their parents’ inaction on climate change – a disaster that will affect the very children striking today! The strike is inspired by the Swedish schoolgirl, Greta Thunberg, who began protesting outside her parliament in August 2018. She posed the all-important question: why bother to go to school to prepare for a future that will not exist if global warming is allowed to continue unabated.

To date, governments have made some small effort since to the Paris Agreement Climate Change in 2015, but many countries – including Ireland – have continued to fail to meet their targets. The Paris Agreement followed the publication of Pope Francis’ seminal encyclical, Laudato Si’, in May 2015. In Laudato Si’ – Care for Our Common Home, Francis brings an ecological lens to our current global system, and reminds us that we are not above nature or in dominion over all creation. Rather we are all part of an integrated common home – the earth. This encyclical was seen as a watershed moment, and in many ways it has been, but it is not the first time the Church has responded to the “cry of the earth”. In 1990, Pope John Paul II published his message, Peace with God the Creator, Peace with All of Creation: “Faced with the widespread destruction of the environment, people everywhere are coming to understand that we cannot continue to use the goods of the earth as we have in the past. The public in general as well as political leaders are concerned about this problem, and experts from a wide range of disciplines are studying its causes. Moreover, a new ecological awareness is beginning to emerge which, rather than being downplayed, ought to be encouraged to develop into concrete programmes and initiatives.”

Read St Pope John Paul II’s message Peace with God the Creator, Peace with All of Creation in full: