Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of December 19, 2005
Biologist-bishop to battle against climate change
By DEBORAH GYAPONG
Canadian Catholic News
Rimouski Archbishop Bertrand Blanchet says protecting the earth's environment requires a "spiritual commitment" for every individual to do his or her part.
For the archbishop, that is going to mean reducing his speed on the highway and maybe taking some trips on the bus.
Blanchet, a biologist, was appointed by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) to attend the World Council of Churches (WCC) meeting held in conjunction with the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Montreal from Nov. 29 to Dec. 9.
He returned from the conference with a new sense of solidarity with people representing a range of ages, ethnic groups, nations and income levels.
In a telephone interview Dec. 13, Blanchet praised the special declaration the WCC asked representatives to sign at an interfaith ceremony Dec. 4.
The statement said, "We commit ourselves to help reduce the threat of climate change through actions in our own lives, pressure on governments and industries and standing in solidarity with those most affected by climate change."
Blanchet said the fight against climate change concerns not only economics but also needs the involvement of religions.
"If we can deepen our insight and be moved by spirituality, we will have more results," he said.
Blanchet liked the fact Canada's environment minister Stephane Dion invited participants to make an effort to personally reduce their pollution and use of gasoline.
"For myself, I think I will reduce by one ton the emissions I had up to now," he said. "I had my car driving a little more slowly, instead of 115 kilometres, doing 100. Less starting and stopping can help."
"We have to change. I hope we will be intelligent and wise enough to do the things we need." Blanchet said many cities are going ahead with improvements because they want to prevent smog. They are not waiting for national governments to act.
The conference has increased solidarity with the poorest people in the global South and the Indians and Inuit of the North who are most affected by climate change, he said.