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Cardinal Peter Turkson visits OSU, speaks on global sustainability

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Cardinal Peter Turkson and University President Michael Drake during a “fireside chat” in Mershon Auditorium at OSU on Nov. 2. Credit: Kyle Powell | Design Editor

Cardinal Peter Turkson and University President Michael Drake during a “fireside chat” in Mershon Auditorium at OSU on Nov. 2. Credit: Kyle Powell | Design Editor

Cardinal Peter Turkson visited Ohio State on Monday evening to speak alongside University President Michael Drake about global sustainability and Pope Francis’ environmental encyclical from earlier this year. The event took place at the Mershon Auditorium with an audience of more than 1,000 people.

Turkson is the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and a prominent environmental adviser to the pope. He led the drafting process of Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment titled “Laudato Si’,” which translates to “Praise be to You.” The encyclical letter highlights the importance of the discussion about protecting the environment, and calls for urgent action toward sustainability, both socially and ecologically.

“(Pope Francis’) vision is what we should all be concerned about: what kind of world we want to leave to our children and those coming after us,” Turkson said during a media interview.

Turkson became the first cardinal from Ghana in 2003, and he advocates actively for the protection of the environment, not only for its own sake, but as an issue of social justice.

“So the solution the holy father proposes is a solution not limited only to politicians to business people to economists, but to everybody,” Turkson said. “Everybody has a role to play. Age does not disqualify anybody from contributing towards the solution to this.”

Drake introduced Turkson during the event.

“Known for his human touch, Cardinal Turkson speaks more than six languages, as well as understanding Latin and Greek, just in case,” he said.

The cardinal gave a short speech about his life of service, his work at the Vatican, and the goals of Pope Francis in confronting the issues of climate change and global sustainability.

“(The encyclical) invites us all to show common concern and care, for the one thing that we all share, our common globe,” Turkson said about the papal encyclical. “Therefore, the main purpose of the encyclical is ‘care for creation.’”

After the speech, the cardinal sat down with Drake for a “fireside chat” conducted by Bruce McPheron, vice president of agricultural administration at OSU and dean of the College for Food, Agricultural and Environmental Services. McPheron asked them both about the importance of confronting environmental degradation, about their personal experiences with the issue and about their plans for the future.

Drake recounted an anecdote about a trip through the redwood forests and what he gained from the experience.

“The concept of being able to work hard, to make sure that those perfect places and that perfect harmony can continue to exist I think is something that is really, really important for us to do,” Drake said. “I just think that’s a critical focus for us as leaders in society — in the scientific community, in the faith-based community, in the political community, and in the social community all around.”

McPheron, too, shared his thoughts on sustainability during a short speech.

“Sustainability permeates this campus — from our buildings to our athletics, from our research and creative accomplishments to our curriculum,” McPheron said. “There’s more that we can do to ensure that we’re engaged as an institution.”

4 comments

  1. “The age of nations is past. The task before us now, if we would not perish, is to build the earth.” — Teilhard de Chardin

    In the light of the presentation by Cardinal Turkman in Mershon Auditorum (November 2, 2015), and his appraisal of the Pope’s Encyclical on Earth and Justic, the Cardinal speaks of Integral Ecology.

    From the Encylical, Integral Ecology begins with the recognition that humanity now faces existential crises on multiple fronts: extreme economic disparity, increased competition for resources including land and water, a severely degraded natural world, failing nation states, and a climate on the verge of spinning out of control.

    The “integral” in integral ecology is what’s new. It realizes that these crises are not independent, but closely intertwined. Here’s how people have put it:

    … Francis will likely bring together issues of social justice and economic inequity into relationship with our growing understanding of global climate change and environmental trauma. … While economic analysis is not the central agenda of his encyclical, it appears as if Francis will consider how relentless growth through capital investment both adversely affects the poor and the health of biological life on the planet. While discussions about social justice have been robust in Catholic and Christian contexts for centuries, this encyclical marks the first time social and eco-justice are brought into close relationship.

    OSU can not expect to be integral in this ecology by privatization of energy, we must provide public leadership to press forward. There is no public-private projects without public access and structure; OSU can not privatize all its structure and remain a public institution, BEWARE, OSU’s privatization drive is scary this Halloween season.

  2. “The age of nations is past. The task before us now, if we would not perish, is to build the earth.” — Teilhard de Chardin
    In the light of the presentation by Cardinal Turkman in Mershon Auditorum (November 2, 2015), and his appraisal of the Pope’s Encyclical on Earth and Justic, the Cardinal speaks of Integral Ecology.

    From the Encylical, Integral ecology begins with the recognition that humanity now faces existential crises on multiple fronts: extreme economic disparity, increased competition for resources including land and water, a severely degraded natural world, failing nation states, and a climate on the verge of spinning out of control.

    The “integral” in integral ecology is what’s new. It realizes that these crises are not independent, but closely intertwined. Here’s how people have put it:

    … Francis will likely bring together issues of social justice and economic inequity into relationship with our growing understanding of global climate change and environmental trauma. … While economic analysis is not the central agenda of his encyclical, it appears as if Francis will consider how relentless growth through capital investment both adversely affects the poor and the health of biological life on the planet. While discussions about social justice have been robust in Catholic and Christian contexts for centuries, this encyclical marks the first time social and eco-justice are brought into close relationship.

    OSU can not expect to be integral in this ecology by privatization of energy, we must provide public leadership to press forward.

    There is no public-private projects without public access and structure.

  3. I write as a person who first worked on matters related to climate change back in the late-1970s, about 35 years ago. Ii am neither Catholic nor Christian–not even theist. After reading the Encyclical in its entirety, I wondered whether the Pope was simply dissing me and the work that I and many others like me had done might matter to he Pipe-as-organizer.

    Hen, during Pope Francis’ address from the American capital, he modified his message by mentioning … “those who do not or cannot pray” (like me)–and asking us to send good thoughts his way.

    It seems to me that we must all work together if Francis’s is to become in practice the integral ecology he wrote of. If I could end with a twist from his Book: By their actions you will know them. We must all work together without wasting time arguing who is #1!

  4. The current Pope was raised among socialists, Marxists, and a “gospel” foreign to God and foreign to God’s Word. Christian conservatism, along with Christian capitalism elevated the people of the united States to the highest standard of living, and Liberty, of all the peoples of the earth.

    “Progressive” ideology coupled with “social justice theory” have plummeted the American people into massive, unsustainable debt, and cultural and personal sin and degradation. Progressives, and apparently the current Pope, despise our constitution with its LIMITS upon government and sovereignty of the people, themselves limited by constitutional principles only alterable by constitutional amendment.

    Our Founders got it right, including the fact that slavery could only be ended by our mature nation, not one in its infancy. Sadly, lawless & “progressive” judges and politicians forced a civil war to abolish slavery. However, like Satan, evil “progressives” remain among us to the present day. They must be exposed and defeated.

    Christian conservatives abide by “stewardship” of our earth and resources. “Progressives” elevate “the earth” above God’s Highest Creation, mankind.

    Sadly, Ohio State University has been taken over by the “progressives.” Ohioans must awaken and free OSU from the evil influences that currently dominate it.

    Thankfully, Christ Alone is King of all Kings and Lord of all Lords, and every knee shall bow to Him and every tongue shall acknowledge His Lordship. May we, until His Return, labor in His Cause.

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