It’s all over talk radio and television; it’s an issue of the upcoming presidential election; it’s even got Hollywood abuzz. It’s climate change, and now the Catholic community is joining the conversation.
This spring, seven people with Xavier connections took part in one of three regional forums on the subject sponsored by the Catholic Coalition on Climate Change.
“We looked at how the issue of climate change affects the ongoing Catholic discussion about the poor, the common good and the dignity of human beings,” says Drew Peters, assistant director for peace and justice programs, who was one of those in attendance.
“Human activity in the world is affecting the environment. It’s a reality. My point was to get students there and have them be-come passionate about having something happen here at Xavier.”
Joining Peters were two students and 1999 graduate Tony Stieritz, director of social action with the Cincinnati Archdiocese. They joined up in Col-umbus with 1982 graduate Dan Misleh, coordinator of the conference and director of the coalition, based in Washington, D.C., and 1995 graduate Jerry Freewalt and 1976 alum Jim Tobin, both from the Columbus diocese.
Among the messages Peters and the students brought back are how people can reduce their energy use—drive less, recycle more, turn off electronics, eat less meat, buy food locally. The students, Julia Alexander and Justin Canceliere, will explore how some of these concepts can be implemented on campus.
Initiated by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the forum brought together key representatives of American society to address climate change from the Catholic perspective of solidarity and justice. It challenged participants to remember prudence, the poor and the common good when considering how to reduce our impact on earth. As Peters says, the conversation is just beginning.