Two new Research Fellows have recently been appointed.
The speakers at the Laudato Si conference were Dr Austen Ivereigh (Catholic Voices) and Professor Paul Younger (Rankine Chair of Engineering, University of Glasgow).
Austen Ivereigh started with an overview of Laudato Si’, giving an insight into the key themes of a “game-changing” Papal letter of the highest authority. Austen summarised the key points of Laudato Si', describing a world that is mechanistic and artificial, with compulsive consumerism driving ecological damage. We have consumerism and conformity, but also “too many means and too few insubstantial ends”. A central insight Austen discussed is how to integrate ecology into our everyday lives, but also having creation inspire human industry. Austen highlighted the link between the year of mercy and the illumination of St Peter’s Basilica which is scheduled to occur today (Dec 8th), named Illuminating Our Common Home. Images will be projected onto the Basilica that are inspired by mercy and humanity, but also images linked to climate change and environmental degradation. Austen also highlighted the critique that Pope Francis makes in the encyclical of a certain liberal ecological mindset and instead proposes an integral ecology.
Prof Paul Younger discussed the aspects of Laudato Si’ relevant to environmental engineering, as well as the looming problems in regard to energy supplies and the engineering difficulties of responding to an environmental crisis. Paul made a thoughtful and inspiring link between scripture and the need to have a careful stewardship of the earth. Also covered was an assessment of the science of climate change, and the natural laws we must work with in order to sustain human communities. “A lot of people are confused with the issue of climate change, but it’s really simple. Climate is what you expect, weather is what you actually get!”. Although the issues raised in Paul’s talks cover seemingly massive problems of pollution and impending energy shortages, he provided a hopeful and practical message with reasonable solutions to contemporary problems which will affect future generations. Both Paul Younger and Austen Ivereigh highlighted that it would be an error to say Laudato Si’ is the “climate change encyclical”. The wide ranging topics mentioned are spiritual, scientific, education-related, and a call to ecological conversion. The full video is available to watch, with the link provided below.
Br Luke Doherty O.P.