Thursday 29 September 2016

Paris Diary: 'Earth's a garden, let's not pass it on as a wilderness'

Published 09/12/2015 | 02:30

'We receive this Earth as a garden. We do not want to pass it on to those who come after us as a wilderness'
'We receive this Earth as a garden. We do not want to pass it on to those who come after us as a wilderness'

It's not too often that the media applaud those hosting press conferences, but Cardinal Peter Turkson received such an honour yesterday.

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The Ghanaian led the drafting team of Pope Francis's call for climate and environmental action, 'Laudato Si', where the Pontiff memorably described the planet as beginning to resemble "an immense pile of filth". That language was evident in the cardinal's comments at COP21. "We receive this Earth as a garden. We do not want to pass it on to those who come after us as a wilderness." Cue, applause all 'round.

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Away from the main COP21 venue is 'Climate Generations', a space for civil society where the atmosphere is distinctly more colourful.

There's a solar powered sound system, which allowed a troupe of Greenland women sing songs about eating a whale (sustainably, of course); an opportunity to meet the "world's wisdom keepers" and activities for those of a spiritual bent, including 'yoga for the inner climate' and 'chant and meditate for the planet'.

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Nice piece from the archives of 'The New York Times' about a scientist who re-examined a theory from the early 1900s about why the planet was warming.

"According to a theory held half a century ago, variation in the atmosphere's carbon dioxide can account for climatic change... the theory was dismissed as inadquate," Waldemar Kaempffert wrote in October 1956. But according to Dr Gilbert Plass, "the carbon dioxide theory stands up, though it may take another century of observation to confirm it." Seems that time has come.

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With all the talk about the enormous sums of money needed to combat climate change ($100bn a year), it's hard to get your head around all the figures.

Now 'Stop Climate Crime!' says $650bn a year of public money is used to support the development of fossil fuel energy.

Our taxes are financing "the run towards climate chaos". And to add to the deep sense of depression, it seems we're paying to make good the damage too. "We are struggling to find the $100bn each year to finance climate change mitigation efforts."

Irish Independent

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