Catholic Priest Calls For Environment Action

THE Church must consider environmental concerns on every decision even if it means reassessing contentious issues including birth control, according to a leading theologian who will speak in Melbourne this month.

Irish Columban priest Fr Sean McDonagh has warned more than 11,000 animal and plant species will become extinct in the next century unless political, economic and religious leaders take urgent action.

Fr Sean McDonagh is an internationally renowned theologian and ecologist who has written several books on the links between environment and religion.

``For the sake of future generations, we need to lower population, alter consumption levels and promote more resource-efficient technologies,?? he said.

``This has ramifications for the Catholic position on birth control and for the modern growth-oriented industrial model of development which has been the principal cause of ecological devastation in our world today.??

Fr McDonagh will speak in Melbourne on November 28 at a public lecture and academic roundtable as part of a national book tour to launch The Death of Life: The Horror of Extinction. The Melbourne leg of his tour is being hosted by Friends of the Earth.

It argues today?s extinction crisis is the sixth largest in the planet?s history and stands as the worst ecological problem facing humanity.

``There is no support in the New Testament for the exploitative, throw-away consumer society which in the past four decades has destroyed the natural world in so many parts of the globe and produced mountains of non-biodegradable and toxic waste which will plague the people and creatures of planet,?? Fr McDonagh said.

?The battle to stave off the extinction of species is as important as the fight against slavery and efforts to protect workers? rights in previous generations.?

McDonagh?s environmental passion stems from two decades spent as a missionary and academic in the Philippines, a nation suffering from habitat destruction, species extinction and the effects of climate change.

``If this generation does nothing it will be too late and no future generation will be able to do anything??

Fr McDonagh?s books cover a range of environment issues including climate change and justice; genetically engineered food and human rights.

Fr McDonagh will present a public lecture The Death of Life: A Leading Christian ecologist?s response to the global extinction crisis 7-9pm Monday November 28 at the Australian Catholic University, 115 Victoria Pde Fitzroy. Details: 9419 8700.

Fr Sean McDonagh is available for interview/comment and is able to speak on a wide range of issues including climate change, GE foods and human rights.

Media Contact:
Tracey Cheeseman Friends of the Earth Media Adviser
0439 700 501