“Creating a climate of change” is the initiative set out by the Organization, Development and Peace.
The organization has shared a long history within the community of Fort St. James and has done a great deal in raising awareness regarding issues from agriculture to education as well as advocacy for peace and human rights in over 70 countries.
Development and Peace, a Canadian Catholic organization has approximately 13,000 members in Canada. Pat Short, Louise Evans-Salt and Jolene Lawrick are local members and are currently dedicating their time in helping raise awareness about climate change.
“The organization is based on education about social structures that are unjust in the world,” Short said. “This year, we have committed to issues surrounding climate change, in helping find ways to support and assist poorer countries who are affected by this growing problem.”
“It’s also about supporting them and helping them to survive on their own. It’s about helping them to help themselves.”
Development and Peace was established in 1967 by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops in response to Pope Paul VI’S encyclical letter, Populorm Progressio which says that development is the new word for peace.
For Lawrick, it’s all about the little things. “The focus is that small things can make a difference. No matter how small in your day to day life, you can make a difference,” Lawrick said.
This is a five year plan that Pope Francis has asked the world to take seriously. “The pace and consumption, waste and environmental change has so stretched the planet’s capacity that our contemporary lifestyle, unsustainable as it is, can only precipitate catastrophes, such as those which even now periodically occur in different areas in the world. The effects of the present imbalance can only be reduced by our decisive action, here and now,” he said.
Canada has seen its own natural disasters from ice storms to flooding. “We in Canada have the funds to bounce back from these disasters. In many other countries in the world, they are incapable of doing so. The effects are long lasting,” Lawrick said.
From dangerously hot temperatures in Ethiopia, to devastating tropical storms in Honduras as well as a super typhoon in the Philippines, these are some of the countries being targeted by Development and Peace.
“But it must start with us,” Evans-Salt said. “It’s all about talking to people and raising awareness. Pope Francis is asking us to be good stewards, to abolish money and greed.”
“And it’s all about leading by example,” Lawrick added. Even small things such as carpooling and bicycling, these things can make a big difference.”
According to Evans-Salt and Lawrick, the community is taking steps to tackle climate change from recycling, various school programs and initiatives from the district such as making Fort St. James an idle free community.
“We are focusing on our parish community, the Church of Our Lady of the Snows, local individuals and the government,” Evans-Salt said.
According to Short, the organization is Catholic, but anyone can donate.
We need to ask ourselves what are countries like Canada doing for the people in these poorer countries? We really just want to make people aware.” Short said.
For more information visit: devp.org/climateofchange