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March 15, 2015

Week 8: The Environment

During the next two weeks we will focus on the impact of climate change on development. For this first week, the central question to address is how the increasing urgency of climate change threats is affecting development agendas and operations. What changes are you seeing, at an academic level and on the ground? We include two responses from our colleagues writing for a parallel blog on "Catholic Social Thought and the Global Future of Development" hosted by Georgetown's Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs.

  • Jonas Bergmann highlights the vulnerability of people in countries like the Philippines, where climate change is already blamed for catastrophic storms that have displaced millions. He argues for a multifaceted approach that prepares for disasters and helps to build resilience in communities.
  • Savannah Kochinke focuses on several dimensions of the looming water crisis. Wide disparities in access to water are already part of global inequalities, and climate change is making them more severe. She also points to conflict linked to water. The argument is that water issues deserve higher priority. 
  • Noureen Ramzy also highlights the implications of climate change for water, focusing on the Middle East. Coming on top of a gravely challenged region, wide-ranging effects on food prices and forced displacement are likely, and conflicts may be exacerbated. Technological change offers a glimmer of hope. 

From our colleagues at the “Global Future of Development and Catholic Social Thought” blog:

  • James O’ Sullivan: Catholic social thought might speak more in the future of the special responsibility—one of “rectificatory” justice— that falls on the nations who have reaped the benefits of unsustainable development and are now in a better position to weather the coming “storms,” as well as to alter their courses and lessen their damage.
  • Emmanuel Foro: Churches in Kenya have also come together under the “Care for the Earth” Network that has run seminars and consultations in Kenya since 2014. These various initiatives can be understood in the light of several principles of Catholic social thought. The first and most important principle here is the stewardship of creation, which includes solidarity, participation, and subsidiarity, as common responsibilities. Have we not all agreed that we must “act locally” though we “think globally”?