BSC KUCHING: Dangerous climate change is already happening and threatens all life on Earth. Global warming is now around one degree Celsius compared to pre-industrial times (1850-1900).

Unless and until we, human beings, change the way we live and develop, global warming can rise up to 1.5oC as early as 2030 and to over 4 degrees Celsius by the end of the century. This will be devastating for millions of people.

At 1.5oC of global warming, for instance, 350 million people will be exposed to droughts and we will lose 70-90% of corals. At 2oC, almost all corals will be gone.

Scientists around the world agree that the current climate crisis is due to human activity, which has resulted in the substantial increase in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions since the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century.

This is what Clare Westwood informed more than 70 participants of the Laudato Si’ and the Climate Crisis Workshop held at Blessed Sacrament Church, Kuching, from 30-31 March.

The workshop examined the global crises of the world and the urgent threat of worsening global warming as well as the way forward through advancing creation justice and resilience for people and Mother Earth.

The Catholic Church acknowledges the current climate crisis is a threat to all life on earth. Hence, in his encyclical Laudato Si’, Pope Francis calls upon all people of good will to an “ecological conversion” (LS 217). As “things are now reaching a breaking point” (LS 61), the Pope tells us that the Church “must above all protect mankind from self-destruction” (LS 79).

Westwood urged all of the participants, made up of religious, lay leaders and youth, to go back to their homes, organisations, and parishes and begin to effect the necessary changes to save the world for current and future generations of all life on Earth. “We have no time to lose! We need to Be Better and Do Better,” she exhorted.

Workshop in progress, with a visit by Archbishop Simon Poh to welcome all participants

Hailing from the Diocese of Penang, Clare is currently the director of the Episcopal Commission for Creation Justice of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei, under the presidency of Bishop Joseph Hii of Sibu Diocese.

She has worked with non-government organisations on food, agriculture, food sovereignty, biosafety, and climate change, mainly through serving poor rural, farming communities in 16 countries in Asia.

At the workshop, participants shared their experiences, discussed and assessed the conditions of their respective communities. They also made personal commitments to save Mother Earth and planned the steps to take to make their parishes ecological ones.

Marianna Cyril, a young participant, testified, “This workshop made me more aware of the importance to take care of and love our Mother Earth. I have learnt a lot, especially on how to preserve the beauty of nature.”

The workshop was organised by the Creation Justice Committee of the Commission for Mission and Human Development of the Archdiocese of Kuching, headed by Fr Joseph Chai.

By Audrey Yu
Feature photo: Audrey Yu
Photo collage: Carol Francis

This article was first published on 11 April 2019 at