When Bishop Bernard Unabali of Bougainville, Papua New Guinea, performs a baptism, confirmation or ordination, he asks churchgoers to plant 10 trees to promote new life. Unabali considers the link between respecting the environment and the sacramental life of the church as inseparable, writes Dennis Sadowski in a Nov. 9 Catholic News Service article.
Tree-planting is one way this bishop encourages people to respond to the rapid pace of climate change. Unabali was the keynote speaker for a three-day symposium on climate change held Nov. 8-10 at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. In 2007, he spent two weeks with the Halia people in the Carteret Islands and saw for himself evidence of the rising ocean.
The Washington meeting highlighted urgent calls from Pope Benedict XVI for Catholics to respond to this planetary crisis. The symposium was sponsored by the U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Catholic Coalition on Climate Change, and the university's Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies.
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The Catholic Coalition on Climate Change's weekly update for Nov. 14 also features an upcoming editorial in America magazine on climate change. The article calls Democrats and Republicans' decision to not address climate in the presidential campaign as "foolish." On the same topic, Jason King, chair of the Theology Department at St. Vincent College in Latrobe, Pa., reflects on discussing Hurricane Sandy with his undergraduate students in "Hurricane Sandy -- Responding with Love."