(Left Rev'd Dr James Hanvey, SJ, Master of Campion Hall, opens the symposium. See more pictures below.)
On Wednesday 6 December the Connecting Ecologies symposium kicked off with a pair of keynote lectures by two leading experts.
Monsignor Kevin Irwin, currently Research Professor in the School of Theology and Religious Studies at the Catholic University of America, situated Pope Francis' celebrated 2015 encyclical Laudato Si' within a broad theological context. In particular Msgr. Irwin showed how 'care for our common home' had been a sustained interest of Jorge Bergoglio for many years before his elevation to the papacy. Irwin also stressed that Francis' environmental concerns align with the writings and teachings of Francis' two immediate predecessors (John Paul II and Benedict XVI).
Then Andreas Carlgren, former Swedish Minister for the Environment from 2006-2011, spoke about the diplomatic and political processes involved in developing and passing climate-control accords. Drawing on his experience as a minister and negotiator at various climate summits, especially his work with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Carlgren spoke about the scientific basis of climate change and the obstacles to effective global cooperation on the issue. Carlgren is currently vice-chair of the Stockholm Environment Institute and a permanent professor of environment and justice at the Newman Institute in Uppsala, Sweden.
Both speakers fielded questions from the audience.
Together Irwin and Carlgren's talks commence a four-day interdisciplinary conference inspired by Pope Francis' call to greater care for our common home. The conference has brought together more than thirty leading experts from the fields of environmental science, theology, law, migration, and beyond.