Helping create a climate of change in Fort St. James

“Creating a climate of change” is the initiative set out by the Organization, Development and Peace.

  • Nov. 18, 2015 8:00 p.m.

Barbara Latkowski

Caledonia Courier

“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. Louise Evan-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 structures that are unjust in the world,” Evan-Salt says. “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.”

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,” Evan-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 Evan-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,” Evan-Salt said.

Cards have been handed out in the parish community and will be distributed throughout the community also. People are asked to fill them out and commit to something they can do personally to help with the effects of climate change.

The cards will then be sent to Prime Minister Trudeau just before the upcoming Paris negotiations being held on Nov. 30 – Dec. 11.

World leaders will meet with the goal of signing a binding treaty to address issues of climate change.

“This year, it’s all about what we ourselves can do,” Lawrick said. “Sign the card and help create a climate of change.”

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