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Sean McDonagh (left), The bishop of Bradford who chaired the evening session, and Kathrine Wyatt from the Centre for community Engagement who organised the lectures

Sean McDonagh Talks at Bradford University - 29 January 2008

Judith Allinson who ran a CEL stall
at this event recalls some
highlights.
Photos (c) J Allinson

Sean McDonagh is an Irish Columban Priest who has worked in the Philippines for many years and also as Chair of Greenpeace Ireland. He went to Bali for the Climate Talks in December 2008.

 

The Centre for Community Engagement at the University of Bradford invited him to give two talks - the first on Climate Change and the second on Christianity and the Environment. (It is planned that talks by other faith groups about the environment will follow). The meeting was in the the newly refurbished Richmond Building.

This was an excellent idea - we heard from

  • BCB (Bradford Community Radio who have recorded the talk),
  • Christian Ecology Link, including local church activity such as the St John's Methodist Church Settle Rainforest fund - (Judith pointed out that at present rates of habitat destruction in 10 years time in Borneo the orang -utan will have becone extinct - later Sean McDonagh said that almost a third of birds and mammals wwere under threat of extinction)
  • John Bibby from Bradford Council who are encouraging groups to sign Pledges to enable Bradford to become an Eco-City. Bradford University was aiming to be an Eco-versity
  • JustChurch(??) - who are encouraging people to do e-fasting during Lent - for one day a week. (i.e. not use computers and other electric equipment (except keep the fridge on).
  • Margaret Sibury told us about the Live SImply Challenge..
  • Rachel Deadman told us about the Young Peoples Environment Fair in Bradford on Mon 11 Feb and invited people to run stalls.
  • Chris from Howarth Baptist Church told us about the Sunday Evening cinema at their church which reatures films such as An Inconvenient Truth
  • .. gave us leaflets about Bradford Faiths
  • Clare Hyde told us about Bradford and Dales EarthCare
  • At the eveing talk we heard from two student who are ecoversity student ambassadors

David Jackson chaired the first session. At the beginning of the session people from different organisations or with news of important events were invited to say a couple of sentences. This was an excellent idea (see right) and I would thoroughly recommend it for other meetings.

 

Climate Change

Sean McDonagh's Talk covered much of the material in his book Climate Change: The Challenge to Us All

The material in his powerpoint show can be seen on the Columban site at Climate Change and Christian Response - a pdf file - recommended

He told how he had worked with the Tiboli PEOPLE in the Philippines, and how he and they had been affected by the destruction of the terocarp Forests. He has also written a book The death of life - The horror of Extinction and says that species extinctions are an even more important threat than global warming. I have made a summary of some of the best points and quotes from that book here

The Church had been into Justice Issues then but not into environment issues.

He pointed out some consequences of Climate Change that not everyone is taking into account:

One sixth of the worlds population depend on water doming from the galciers in the Himalayas. In fact he said that 4 billion people depend on meltwaters from glaciers in the world. As these galciers melt there will be less water.

He was sad that most people at the Climate Talks at Bali were neo-liberals- they believed in following market forces.

I hope to be able to hear the recording made by BCB sometime.

He asked "Why is it that Germany is the number 1 country for making electricity form Solar Cells? - It is not that they have more sun than other countires. If Germany can do it, why can't we?

 

 

 

He pointed out that we should value nature.

He had two nature photographs from the Philippines and two nature photographs from the Burren in Ireland. The Burren is a has limestone pavements, similar to those that we have in the west of North Yorkshire, in the west of the Bradford Diocese.

I was intrigued when on the following evening at a Natural history Quiz Night run by our local natural history society at Settle, in the ten limestone pavement pictures section, the same two subjects appeared: Cinnabar Moth (on ragwort) and Carline Thistle. I wondered how many people in that audience knew that half the Limestone Pavement in Mainland Britain actually lies in the Bradford Diocese.

Twenty five or so of the group went to the TreeHouse vegetarian Fairtrade restaurant nearby for a meal of hot soup, quiche and salad at 5.30pm which was more good opportunity for networking.

Tree house cafe

 

 

In the evening was a second lecture attended by about 80 people, and chaired by the Bishop of Bradford. Sean showed a powerpoint presentation prepared by Sister Leonor de la Santa, which included three songs and some meditations. I was pleased to be able to buy a CD with some of these meditions on it. Some are powerpoint pictures with a music background and words beaurtifully sung by Hazel Tolentino.

In the questions session someone asked Sean about Spirituality - He said he preferred the word Earthality (I think).

--------------------------

In writing up this page I have been impressed when surfing to see all the Eco-stuff now happeingin at Bradford and the University.

The water in the taps in the the newly refurbished building where we had the conference only came on when you put your hands directly under the tap - This would save a lot of water and energy for heating the water.

Someone did observe that bottled water and a plastic cup had been put out for the speaker - was not tap water a vbetter option - still the bottled water bottle MAY have had tap water in it??

I had travelled to the conference by train - in faith that someone would give me a lift home as the last trains stop early - and I thank my two friends who were able to give me a lift home.

Carline Thistle

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