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Berry Forum Offers Laudato Si Perspective at St. Mary’s Abbey

Nuns and Brothers pray at the cemetery in front of a large wooden cross. All Souls Cemetery Service at St. Mary’s Abbey.Br. Kevin Cawley at the lectern. Br. Kevin presenting at the Oblates of St. Mary’s Abbey.

On November 2 the Oblates of St. Mary’s Abbey at Delbarton School in Morristown, NJ, invited Br. Kevin Cawley of the Thomas Berry Forum to present perspectives on Laudato Si at their All Souls Day program. Kevin was contacted by Fr. Hilary, OSB, Moderator for the Oblates, to spend the day at the monastery and offer two presentations to the group of 16 members who were able to attend.

Kevin used a slide presentation to outline the current global predicament that humanity is now beginning to address with the guidance of the teachings in Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home. The presentation included a perspective on current issues regarding climate change including rising sea levels, forest degradation, ocean acidification, species extinction, displacement of peoples, water scarcity and other challenges. The second part of the presentation put a focus on the teachings of Laudato Si with respect to the problems listed above. The response portion of the presentation also included an extended reporting on the challenges to civil society encountered at the concluding sessions of negotiations on the Sustainable Development Goals at the United Nations in 2015.

The Berry Forum presentations on the care for the earth have included background on UN deliberations as they impact integral ecology concerns raised by Pope Francis. In particular the multiple references to the human right to water (47 times in Laudato Si) continue to inform discussions of the coming water scarcity and the disturbing trends toward privatization of this precious resource.

Finally, the afternoon program offered highlights of Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reduce Global Warming. The work is edited by Paul Hawken and offers carbon reduction comparisons identified by over 1,000 experts for the 100 most effective solutions ranked in order of effectiveness. The analysis looks at how much carbon is reduced based on the cost of implementation when compared to net carbon savings over 30 years. The surprise to the researchers was the discovery that improving the technology of air conditioning refrigerants was the number one remedy, surpassing even solar panels and wind power.

Photos: Kevin Cawley, Tom Stiff