Eamonn Murphy

University of Limerick.university-of-limerick


COP21 and Me


COP21 and its global targets while very noble are also very removed from daily life. It is impossible to relate to 2% reduction in Global Warming and 20 Billion dollars for less developed economies to meet their aggressive environmental challenges. How does the individual relate global targets to his or her daily life?

Pope Francis has said that the environment is ‘ a personal moral issue that we must all address’. How does one currently address this moral issue?. The most obvious way is to calculate your individual carbon footprint : the sum of your long haul, short haul flights, your annual car mileage and the amount of energy needed to heat and feed us. Having calculated this Footprint we are then encouraged to donate to non profit charitable organisations that then us the money collected to plant trees to compensate for the carbon we have consumed in our annual footprint.

For those of us of  a certain age we will recall from history that  this is exactly what Martin Luther objected to in the pre-reformation Catholic Church. By purchasing indulgences it was possible to wash your soul free of whatever sins you had committed. Luther argued strongly that personal morality demanded personal responsibility for one’s actions and that is by direct action not financial contribution could one redeem one’s soul.

By extension if the environment is a’ personal moral issue’ then we cannot absolve our failings by donating to  just causes : it is only by direct action . What I would like from Cong is a direction and assistance how to relate the Noble vision of COP21 to my daily life and that of my family and immediate community.

About Eamonn Murphy:

Professor (emeritus) Quality and Applied Statistics , Department of Mathematics, University of Limerick. Director (independent) Irish Manufacturing Research (IMR) Chairman of the Research, Enterprise and Development Board of Limerick Institute of Technology .
Founder and Director of the Irish Centre for Business Excellence(ICBE)

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