In 2017 the island of Dominica in the West Indies was devastated by hurricane Maria.
Homes were destroyed and the island's lush vegetation was nearly wiped out.
Gabriel Malzaire, Bishop of Roseau, on Dominica and President of the Episcopal Conference of the Antilles remembers that terrible time while speaking to Vatican News on the sidelines of the Synod for the Amazon.
“We of course have seen the effects of it (climate change) in the Caribbean, especially in the Northern Caribbean with the prevalence of hurricanes,” he says.
For him and his episcopal conference, the issue of ecology and that of climate change is of great concern.
He underlines that the ecological question is a very big one, but he also adds, that while the Amazon is of great concern, climate change is a universal concern.
The Bishop notes that the purpose of this Synod is to “look at the issue and to come up with some recommendations as to bring a conversion process; not a conversion only on the part of those who are affected by it, but those who cause (it).”
He goes on to say that what is needed is a conversion of lifestyle, consumer consumption and a shift especially from a development of material things to a development of peoples.
Bishop Malzaire points out that the most important thing to realize is that “everything is connected, everyone is connected.” "Whatever happens in one part of the world affects the other."
The Bishop sums up by saying, “there is no one who is exempt from the effects of climate change, so therefore we have the absolute responsibility to address the issue not only for the Amazon but for the world.”