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Carmelite JPIC Newsletter

posted May 22, 2014, 2:32 PM by Sean Donovan
JPIC 31 – JUNE 2014 … … Health in the Lord and Blessing of the Holy Spirit [Rule of St Albert]


In 1972 the United Nations conference on the Environment began on the 5th June. Every year since then this date has been marked as World Environment Day – a day intended to stimulate awareness and action regarding environmental issues. The theme for world Environment Day in 2014 is “Raise your Voice, not the sea level” focusing on the threat climate change presents to many creatures, human and other, who dwell in low lying land regions, especially those on small islands.

We all face the challenge of climate change – it connects us globally in a way we have not had to deal with before. In raising our voices on climate change, we also give voice to our Creator who calls us into a relationship with all things. Unless we change tack, Earth is running out of time. How can we face this challenge of saving the environment without slipping into denial, despair or cynical profiteering?

Many advocates are RAISING THEIR VOICES to report that climate change is also causing massive violations of human rights. We are asked to commit ourselves for human rights, justice and peace as well as towards struggles for the preservation of the planet. We need concrete actions to address climate change and bring this cause to the human rights agenda, stressing that we cannot wait any longer.

TO CELEBRATE WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY, we have asked two Friends of Carmel, who eagerly RAISE THEIR VOICES for environmental issues, to share a personal insight and SIGN OF HOPE into just one of the many efforts being taken to protect our planet; to protect our only home and the environment that sustains all species. Amongst other activities, Peter and Ann are members of the Parish Social Justice Group in Kiama.
1) PETER CLARK has had a successful career as a geologist and scientist. He has an empathetic and knowledgeable understanding of the fragility of our environment, balanced with understanding of government needs to determine our nation’s economic future. Now, as a volunteer lecturer with U3A (University of the Third Age for retired and senior citizens) he has facilitated further education on geological awareness, environmental issues, climate change and other topics.

Peter writes …
Last week I listened to the delivery of the Federal Government Budget speech in despair and anger as I heard the plethora of broken promises, fabrications and exaggerations, I asked “what can I do?” against this demonstration of successful lobbying driven by greed?

And, like the sun shining through smoke haze, a glow on the horizon, came GETUP’s report that the protest against coal transhipping in Keppel Bay, Queensland, had helped cause the project to be abandoned. Further, GETUP has successfully funded a court challenge against Environment Minister Greg

When we talk about the environment, about creation, my thoughts turn to the first pages of the Bible, the Book of Genesis, which states that God placed man and woman on earth to cultivate and care for it. That means nurturing the world with responsibility and transforming it into a garden, a habitable place for everyone. But we are often driven by pride of domination of possessions, manipulation, of exploitation; we do not “care” for it, we do not respect it, we do not consider it as a free gift that we must care for. We are losing the attitude of wonder, contemplation, listening to creation, we have moved away from God, we no longer read His signs.
(Pope Francis, World Environment Day 2013)

Hunt’s approval of dredging at Abbot Point, also in Queensland. Two small steps in preventing further
destruction of the Reef for “King Coal”, an energy source we no longer need…. steps in the right direction
for environmental care of our planet.

I was reminded of the inspirational and spiritual talk given the previous night at our local Spirituality in the Pub by
Ailsa Piper, a Melbourne author and actor who has walked the CAMINO and the MOZARABE. Ailsa has written a
book about her experiences: “Sinning across Spain” ( Ailsa tells of WALKING as a journey of
understanding herself and others; in the highs and lows of walking alone, or, of being joined unexpectedly and
unceremoniously by companions along the way. Strengthened and encouraged by them, she found a microcosm of

I could see through the example of Ailsa’s journey, that in our struggle to preserve and care for our planet, we don’t
have to be alone. Numbers matter! And our politicians are aware that, regardless of the lobbying, they are in power
because of our votes. So we don’t have to walk the way alone. Join with others, GETUP, AVAAZ, THE SUM-OFUS,
and many others. Make your views known and support like-minded views. With many of us walking, even when
we seem to walk alone, there are companions on the way. So the path becomes a trail, becomes a road to
success. Numbers Count!” …. (Peter Clark)

2) While raising her family Dr. ANN LONG worked for many years in Occupational and Environmental
Medicine. Since her retirement Ann has made environmental issues her passionate work. Ann and her
husband Geoffrey have completed a botanical audit of the acreage where they live in the Illawarra
rainforest near Gerringong.

As a long time member of our local Parish Social Justice Group, she has offered much encouragement and
guidance on this issue to parishioners and members of the community.
Ann writes ….

The body of evidence from scientists, economists and financial specialists on the topic of climate change can
sometimes be a little hard for the average citizen to absorb. The December 2013 report from the Global
Investment Bank Citigroup, highlighted the affects of some dramatic changes in the struggle to tighten
emission standards across the world.

If we were surprised at the uptake of solar energy in Germany, IMAGINE THIS!! … JAPAN is now installing the
equivalent of nine nuclear power stations of solar energy IN ONE YEAR. Is this the beginning of the end of the
use of fossil fuels such as COAL? This will have major implications for Australia’s vast coal resources, but all is not
doom and gloom. For me, it is a SIGN OF HOPE and reflects the findings from the recent meeting of some of the
Church’s top theologians and scientists who state: “We have the innovative and technological capability to be
good stewards of Creation”. ( quoted above – Pontifical Academy of Science)
I invite you to take a look at the Giles Parkinson Report 2014: “ …(Ann Long)

1st June – A week of Prayer for Christian Unity
5th June – World Environment Day
8th June – PENTECOST SUNDAY and World Oceans Day
17th June – World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought
20th June – World Refugee Day

It has become abundantly clear that Humanity's relationship with Nature needs to be undertaken by
cooperative, collective action at all levels -- local, regional, and global. ...

We need to honour and protect Creation as humanity's imperative responsibility to future generations. We
have the innovative and technological capability to be good stewards of Creation. The massive fossil fuel
use at the heart of the global energy system deeply disrupts the Earth’s climate and acidifies the world’s

(Sustainable Humanity, Sustainable Nature – Our Responsibility – Pontifical Academy of Science
Meeting in Rome -May 2014)

There is an awe and reverence due to
the stars in the heavens, the sun, and
all heavenly bodies; to the seas and the
continents; to all living forms of trees
and flowers; to the myriad expressions
of life in the sea; to the animals of the
forests and the birds of the air. To
wantonly destroy a living species is to
silence forever a divine voice.
Thomas Berry

SOME AMAZING WEBSITES related to the Environment: - Catholics and Climate Change website - Change for the Good is a 2.25 min. video. It is part of the initiative of the United Nations Climate Change Secretariat. - United Nations Environmental Program - Theme: Together We Can Protect the Ocean! 8th June

Resources and liturgies prepared by the Uniting Church in Australia United Nations Environmental program “Towards an Inclusive Green Economy – Achim Steiner, forwarded by Sr Jane Remson, Carmelite NGO

Last weekend I was privileged to be among a packed audience at the Mary MacKillop Centre at North Sydney to hear Fr Frank Brennan, Ambassador Abel Guterres, Kirsty Sword Gusmao and Tom Clark from Timor Sea Justice Campaign (, an stirring variety of speakers, each complementary to the other.

This gathering was timely as we celebrated with Timor Leste the 14th Anniversary of Independence this week on 20th May. We were reminded again of the vulnerability of our friends and close neighbour, as they struggle on their journey to nationhood. As well as a comprehensive history of these negotiations, our speakers at this event each gave instances of the Australian government’s position of domination and betrayal to what was thought to be a close regional friendship.

Kirsty focussed on many aspects of the history and relationship between our two countries and of her divided loyalty and disappointment for her country of origin, Australia, and now adopted country of Timor Leste. Fr Frank gave interesting background to the legal aspects of various Treaties, espionage case and current legal challenges in the International Court in The Hague. Ambassador Abel Guterres showed a very dignified and determined stance by the Timorese government to persevere for the sake of the uncertain economy of Timor Leste and its future growth.

From this forum, the three messages that united each speaker were: 1) it was really important that Australians try to be informed and to stay involved; 2) that it was time for Australia to step aside from its interference with the due legal process of determining maritime borders; to allow the International Court to give its deliberations, and, 3) the three countries involved, Timor Leste, Indonesia and Australia should negotiate fairly and equitably for the good of all, to close the GAP and DRAW THE LINE for the borders between each of these sovereign nations. …………………………… (Gabrielle Fogarty)

Recommended reading: an account of this event by Fr Frank Brennan in Eureka Street online publication: … Time to be good neighbours with East Timor (20th May 2014)

Environmental Prayer
As we breathe the very air which sustains us,
We remember your love, God, which gives us life.
Fill us with your compassion for Creation.
Empty us of apathy, selfishness and fear, of all pessimism and hesitation.
Breathe into us solidarity with all who suffer now
and the future generations who will suffer
because of our environmental irresponsibility.
Move us into action to save our earth
and to build your sustainable Kingdom. Amen.

1. For the nations in the Pacific and Indian Oceans affected by rising waters: may the developed nations acknowledge their responsibilities to them, let us pray: Creator Spirit, lead us in your ways.

2. We pray for our Mother Earth: may we commit to a greater responsibility to take more steps to nurture the environment which reveals to us the presence of God, we pray:

Creator Spirit, lead us in your ways.