The Pain of Climate Change

Last fall, I heard a story on the radio that caused me to have all sorts of physical reactions.

It was the end of a busy day of ministry, and I was cooking dinner for the sisters I live with, a group of Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration. I was casually listening to the evening news while I set the table. Then, I heard a story unlike anything I had ever heard before. For those four minutes, I was frozen, staring down at the empty plates while I listened. I was completely stunned. After the story ended, my mind and heart hurt from what I heard. I gasped and groaned and prayed out loud.

What I was hearing, what was disturbing me so deeply, was the news that a tiny island nation in the Pacific Ocean, Kiribati, (pronounced KIR-e-bass) is in trouble. Due to the stresses of rising sea levels, Kiribati is likely to be completely uninhabitable by 2030. The people must find somewhere else to go or they will not survive.

A nation is dissolving. A people must abandon their home. This was preventable and it is not their fault. It’s our fault. We have destroyed their community, their nation, their lives – and we don’t even know who they are. . .

[This is the beginning of my first column for the new online newspaper, Global Sisters Report.  Continue reading here.]

Photo of Kiribati from Business Insider


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  1. My poor, dear lady – The Kiribati Global Warming hoax has been long documented. These islands have tidal gauges that record the height of the sea level. These gauges show no rise in sea level there at all. Rather, Kiribati is a coral atoll. Because of the nature of coral atolls, (not built of rock, but rather are coral that grew on the top of an extinct, submerged volcanos. ) they often sink as they get older. In addition, development on the atoll that disturbs the foundation of the coral also sometimes causes it to sink.
    No, these people are just using the global warming idea to get money so they can move to a new island. The facts are out there if you choose to find them.

  2. Dear Julia,
    I would like to tell you about the Pacific Calling Partnership and invite you to join our efforts. We are based in Australia but work in partnership with people in the Pacific especially those living in Kiribati and Tuvalu. We aim to ensure a strong Pacific Voice on climate change and to take steps to make sure that their voice is heard in Australia and globally.
    One campaign you and others could help us with very easily is the campaign to support the candidacy of President Anote Tong of Kiribati for the Nobel Peace Prize. go to Here you can contribute a ‘thought for the planet’ saying why you think a world facing climate change needs leaders like President Tong. You could also join the Tong Facebook campaign by going to the page called Anote Tong Nobel Peace Prize Campaign. Also if you still feel you can do more you can contact members of parliament or university professors, rectors or others who are eligible to actually make a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize to nominate him.
    Thank you

  3. Dear Sister Julia,
    Thanks so much for your article about sea level rise in the south pacific. Very many of us here in the U.S. are oblivious to crises like these.

    If you want to get an even more graphic picture of the situation, you should watch the documentary “Sun Come Up,” which tells the story of another Pacific island whose people are being forced to relate, though in this case, now.

    Blessings on your living out of your Franciscan charism.

    Marian Ronan

    1. Thanks Marian! The moving “Sun Come Up” is excellent & important. It really had an impact on me when I watched even though I came to the viewing I attended with a lot of consciousness. Thanks for the reminder. Blessings!