SFU hosts public forum to discuss ecological crisis

October 05, 2016

By Wan Yee Lok

In May 2015, Pope Francis published a letter called Laudato Si: On the Care for Our Common Home, addressed to Catholics and non-Catholics alike. The letter, known as an encyclical (from the Greek word “in a circle”, i.e. for wide circulation), focuses on the ecological crisis, and asks everyone to act.  

To highlight the concrete steps that local communities have taken to improve "our common home" since the publication of Laudato Si, Simon Fraser University’s Interfaith Centre (IFC), the SFU Sustainability Office, the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS) and the SPNAGE PR and Ad Agency are partnering to host a public dialogue. The event called Laudato Si +1: Faith, Business and Climate Change, will take place on Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2016 at the Asia Pacific Hall of the Wosk Centre for Dialogue.

"The title Laudato Si +1 refers to looking at the document from a broad perspective a year after its publication, and to what each one of us can do to help," says Father Fernando Mignone, IFC’s Catholic chaplain. "We hope to bring people together from youth, environmental, faith, academic, First Nations and political groups to cross-pollinate through this event."

The following panellists will reply to questions posed by Rev. Victor Thomas, who pastors SFU’S The Point Church and heads the IFC Board of Chaplains:

  • Anne Giardini, SFU chancellor
  • J. Michael Miller, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Vancouver
  • Andrea Reimer, City of Vancouver councilor
  • Praveen Varshney, principal of Varshney Capital Corporation
  • Sybil Seitzinger, executive director of PICS
  • Paul Kariya, executive director of Clean Energy B.C.

The organizers will also present the SFU Interfaith Laudato Si Awards to recognize actions that have contributed to improve  "our common home" in B.C. They are currently seeking nominations in four categories: educational, business, non-profit, and individual (i.e. including persons in the arts and academia, or in their own right). Winners will be announced on the night of the event.

SFU’s PICS program manager Nastenka Calle, a member of the event’s organizing committee, says the IFC-hosted dialogue and the awards create an important opportunity to engage more people on the climate change conversation and highlight the importance of working together on these challenges.

The event is free and open to the public. You can register here. The event will also be available for viewing via live webcast.