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A beloved story about Catherine McAuley the founder of the Sisters of Mercy is that when she was dying she asked one of the young sisters to incinerate a package for her. The novice was not to open the package or tell anyone about it. Needless to say, the sister was curious and opened the package. Inside were Catherine’s shoes. I have often reflected on this story wondering why the burning of her shoes was so important to Catherine. Catherine and her sisters were often referred to as the “walking sisters”, and this act of burning her shoes seems to symbolize her acceptance that her walking days were done. Catherine was ready to move to the next stage of life.
Extraordinary events call for “unprecedented actions.” The 5th Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change sounds the alarm for the transformation and mobilization needed at nothing less than breathtaking speed. The document is considered to be hopeful in that it shows what we must do to avoid the worst ravages of climate change. However, this scientific guide for governments to deal with climate change calls for "deep emissions reductions" and "rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society.”