In a crowded Wolff Auditorium, students, professors, and members of the Catholic Church gathered Tuesday to listen to the Catholic Bishop of Spokane, William Skylstad. The discussion, "Facing the Wind-What are the Signs?" regarding global warming, focused on the Catholic view of the controversial topic that is making a worldwide impact.
Splashed across the PowerPoint presentation was the simple quote: "Our present crises — be they economic, food-related, environmental or social — are ultimately also moral crises, and all of them are interrelated."
The fact that Pope Benedict said these words on World Peace Day at the beginning of the year speaks volumes to how Catholicism views the current issue at hand. This event involved many with the intent of inspiring reflection on global warming within the Catholic Church and Gonzaga community.
The event, sponsored by the Advisory Council for Stewardship and Sustainability, the Religious Studies department, the Environmental Studies department, and the College of Arts and Sciences answered numerous questions about the Church's perspective on this global debate and how Catholics help aid this international problem.
The main thread that tied the speech together was how the global community is interrelated and how individuals can help positively impact a difference to decrease carbon emissions.
"Neither should we exploit our world without regard, nor should humanity be at the service of ecology and population control," Bishop Skylstad said in the discussion, addressing the problem of science versus rhetoric.
"I learned how there are multiple parts to global warming, there are so many variables to think about," sophomore Amanda Hernandez said. "The lecture made me think about how all of us are on this planet together. In order to find a solution we have to look at everything to try and solve it."
Raising awareness on the subject of global warming educated the audience that the poor in developing countries around the world are those who will eventually be hurt the most from global warming.
In response to climate change the diocese have created organizations such as the
Catholic Climate Covenant, which invites all to examine our carbon footprint and those in poverty who suffer from the impact and the group Catholics Confront Global Poverty, which covers many environmental issues. There is also the St. Francis Pledge, which urges prayer over our duty to creation and poor people as a solution for global warming; which in the audience proved to be the most controversial.
"I thought the lecture was very interesting and informative, seeing as though the Bishop was involved with the Catholic Climate Change groups directly," sophomore Allie Low said.
"However, I thought that more information about what we can actually do to take action would have been helpful. It seemed to me that just praying about it is not a very good solution to the problem."
In response to the material covered at the lecture, the question and answer portion of the evening focused the discussion on what people can do to help reduce their own carbon emissions.
"Pope Benedict challenges us to become more aware of our carbon footprint and who is under it," Bishop Skylstad said.