Added on 11/10/2013
The environmental movement has a powerful ally in faith communities, an ecumenical congregation heard in Christ Church Taney recently.
Catherine Martin, a teacher and keen environmentalist, was addressing a prayer and meditation Harvest Time service held on 8 October by Three Rock Churches Environmental Group – an Eco–Congregation Ireland initiative that sees eight churches working together in South Dublin. Three Church of Ireland parishes are members of the group – Taney, Whitechurch and Kilternan.
“We cannot underestimate the value of faith communities in promoting a more ecologically and socially just and sustainable future,” Catherine said. “This is ‘living’ the scripture – giving praise to God for the gift of this world and treating it with love. Actions always speak louder than words and that is why it is wonderful to see more and more religious groups actively emphasising ecological protection and acting on those beliefs in very practical ways.”
Catherine was in no doubt that churches could make a difference. “It is the little things in life that can cause some difficulty and division,” she said. “But it is in the big things in life, the immense challenges, such as climate change, where we can be as one.”
Christians need to inspire others to find the will to protect the planet. “We don’t need to lecture communities about what can or cannot be done, but rather to motivate them to look at the environment in a different perspective …. A brighter sustainable future can be achieved collectively, together …. It is up to each and every one of us to play a proactive role to realise this vision in every way possible.”
As well as reaching out with compassion to those who are suffering, we must also identify the roots of injustice and chaos. “The urgent global and catastrophic challenge that peak oil and climate change present is something that we simply cannot turn away from. We can never have it said that we stood idly by, that we did anything less than our level best to secure our children’s safety and future.”
Catherine, who heads up a Green Committee of 40 students in St Tiernan’s Community School, Dundrum, where she is a music and English teacher – said that where she saw challenges she also saw opportunity and hope: “We need to harness that hope,” she said. “I see hope for our environment every day in the hearts and minds of the students whom I teach. Huge potential lies in cultivating a love of this earth and an appreciation of the gift of life among our youth.”
The school recently received a Green Flag in recognition of its efforts to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill. “I saw the pride that these students took in their school receiving that award but, more importantly, I witnessed their dedication through their efforts to embrace a greener approach,” she said. “Education was the first step. Positive change in attitude followed. I am confident that they can transfer that care for their environment from the school playground into their home communities.
“I also saw hope when Oscar Academy winner Glen Hansard took the time to come to our school to commend our students for their environmental work, to raise their green flag, to celebrate that flag through song, and to inspire them to do even more. That day he reminded them of the need to think globally but to act locally.”
Photo: Pictured following the ecumenical prayer and meditation Harvest Time service in Christ Church Taney were from left: Rev Canon Robert Warren, Rector of Christ Church Taney, Catherine Martin, teacher and environmentalist at St Tiernan’s Community School, Carol Newburn, Taney’s rep on Three Rock Churches Environmental Group, and Rev David Bowles, Deacon of Christ Church Taney.
For further information please contact:
Diocesan Communications Officer
Dublin & Glendalough