Posts tagged with: environment

Blog author: bwalker
Tuesday, July 14, 2015

A Hindu Reflection on Pope’s Climate Change Encyclical
Sunita Viswanath, Huffington Post

Through this Encyclical, the Pope has invited every person on the planet into dialogue on the many pressing ecological issues facing humanity – and their impact on the poorest people of the world. As I read the Ramayana and lose myself in the beautiful descriptions of forests, lakes and roaring confluences of rivers, each such site is revealed to me as holy. I am filled with renewed conviction that the only thing I can do in the face of gargantuan challenges such as global warming and global hunger and poverty is to try and keep my heart as clear as the river where Valmiki bathed, and learn to transform my grief and despair into selfless service (seva).

Pope Francis’ Call for Climate Action
Gina McCarthy, Huffington Post

Earlier this year in a series of meetings at the Vatican on the Encyclical with key Papal advisors, Cardinal Turkson laid out our moral obligation to act on climate change not only from the compelling scientific data, but also from his own firsthand experience in Ghana. The meetings ended with a sense of urgency, but also with a feeling of opportunity and hope.

Boehner versus the pope
Bill Press, The Hill

The pope also condemned capitalism because of its role in development of global warming, thereby putting “at risk our common home, sister and mother earth.” As in his recently published encyclical Laudato Si’, Francis preached that climate change is real, that its primary cause is human activity and that political leaders have a moral duty to do something about it. This certainly won’t sit well with Congress’s Republican posse of climate deniers.

This Catholic supports climate fix
Tom Engelmann, Quad-City Times

Republicans, can you see the reality of what’s happening? Sens. Joni Ernst, Chuck Grassley? I wanted to write before when the Pope’s encyclical came out and the Quad-City Times interviewed the vice-chair of the Scott County Republican party to demonstrate Catholic opposition to the Pope’s words. At that time, the only point he made was the Pope should keep his nose out of politics and stick to morality.


Blog author: bwalker
Monday, July 13, 2015

Excerpts from Pope Francis speech attacking global economic order

Pope Francis made a sweeping speech on Thursday during his Latin American tour criticizing the global economic order and asking for forgiveness from indigenous peoples for crimes committed by the Church in the past…. Here are key excerpts from the official English version and translations by Reuters of parts he improvised:

Local interfaith leaders discuss Pope Francis’ encyclical
Arlene Edmonds, The Philadelphia Tribune

The recent session sharing of ideas on how each would individually consume less energy, recycle and nurture the planet. Some mentioned the need to amplify the climate change issue even amid congregations where members were skeptical or too immersed in their day to day problems to consider it. One member suggested that one could ask them to share a simple way they could save energy rather than extend an open invitation to join a time-consuming organization or movement.

Pope Francis apologises for Catholic crimes against indigenous peoples during the colonisation of the Americas
Zachary Davies Boren, The Independent

The affectionate response Francis received was in stark contrast to the furore his predecessor Benedict XVI sparked when he visited the continent in 2007. He said the indigenous people of Latin America had been “silently longing” to become Christians before they were forcefully converted and displaced.

Heading to the beach — with the pope’s encyclical
Effie Caldarola,

So, as I use clean, hot water in the shower, my thoughts go to all of the people worldwide who suffer poor water quality and shortages. And those most impacted, the pope points out, are the poor. But even those of us who live in areas where spring rains have been plentiful worry about depletion of our precious aquifers. Poor public policy and overuse strain our water supply everywhere. Water, of course, is just one of many areas the pope touches on.

Bishop reflects on the pope’s encyclical
Bishop Edward Weisenburger, Catholic Diocese of Salina

The encyclical is thus a teaching document, not a set of secular policy proposals. Certainly the dialogue with science is essential. Indeed, the scientific consensus on the link between human activity and a negative impact on the environment is strong — clearly as strong as the consensus on the link between cigarettes and cancer. I find it sobering to note, too, that the U.S. military and business community agree that climate change is happening and they’re preparing for it. To ignore the science would be reckless.


Blog author: bwalker
Friday, July 10, 2015

The Pope tries to keep a diplomatic face as he receives a gift from the Bolivian president… a crucifix featuring Jesus nailed to the Communist symbol of a hammer and sickle
Flora Drury, The Daily Mail

As crucifixes go, the one with Jesus nailed to the Communist symbol handed to Pope Francis during his meeting with the Bolivian President was unusual at best, blasphemous at worse. But the Pope did his very best to keep his face neutral as he was handed the gift by Evo Morales during a trip to the country on Wednesday. But the hammer and sickle crucifix wasn’t just an example of bad taste: in fact, the gift was a politically-charged offering in a country which has been trying to separate itself from the church.

Unbridled capitalism is the ‘dung of the devil’, says Pope Francis

Pope Francis has urged the downtrodden to change the world economic order, denouncing a “new colonialism” by agencies that impose austerity programs and calling for the poor to have the “sacred rights” of labor, lodging and land. In one of the longest, most passionate and sweeping speeches of his pontificate, the Argentine-born pope used his visit to Bolivia to ask forgiveness for the sins committed by the Roman Catholic church in its treatment of native Americans during what he called the “so-called conquest of America”.

Jerry Brown will visit Vatican for climate change talks with Pope Francis
David Siders, The Sacramento Bee

Gov. Jerry Brown, a longtime champion of environmental causes and a one-time seminarian, will travel to Vatican City this month to meet with Pope Francis and attend a gathering of local officials on climate change and human trafficking. The trip, announced Thursday, comes as Brown intensifies efforts to coalesce support for carbon reduction policies ahead of global climate talks in Paris in December. He warned government officials at a climate summit in Toronto on Wednesday that the world is heading toward “total unsustainability and ecological collapse” if it fails to reduce emissions.

A thoughtful conversation about the Pope’s Encyclical
Joel Makower, GreenBiz

Contrary to this conventional opinion, the Encyclical’s influence is limited by several important factors. First, it was published too late to affect policy decisions of the most influential national climate negotiators. Many areas of agreement have already been achieved, and delegates will be guided by more tangible and secular national and economic interests as they attempt to resolve the remaining issues.


Blog author: bwalker
Thursday, July 9, 2015

Laudato Si’ ignores real gains for the environment and the poor
Steven Mosher, LifeSite News

But having carefully read through Laudato Si, I am amazed at how pessimistic it is about the current state of the world and mankind, leaving out much of the great progress we have made in both care for the environment and the poor. Many of its strong claims about the dire state of the world don’t take into account positive change reported even in UN documents, which themselves tend to magnify environmental and other global problems as a fundraising ploy.

In Andes, Pope’s Ecological Line Faces Resistance
John Otis and Francis X. Rocca, The Wall Street Journal

Pope Francis faced a delicate mission in his first major speech on global warming on Tuesday: how to balance his advocacy for a new model of development with a poor region’s yearning to exploit its natural resources. The pontiff, on the first leg of a three-country Andean trip, emphasized in a speech the themes of his papal encyclical blaming global warming on human activity, saying mankind must take steps to reverse it.

True to his encyclical, Pope Francis’ travels for global change in a world of debt, drought
Anne-Gerard Flynn, MassLive

When the Vatican released Pope Francis encyclical letter, “Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home” on June 18, the 184-page document on capitalism, consumerism and human-induced climate change made global headlines. It combines, in a remarkably readable framework, information from a variety of disciplines to address what Francis calls “the present ecological crisis. In it, Francis seeks to advance a moral premise for sustainable development that exploits neither the Earth nor the humans that inhabit it.

Francis on climate change: ‘We can no longer turn our backs on reality’

The pope has said he wanted the encyclical to influence a United Nations climate change summit in Paris in December and has now effectively taken his campaign to convince governments on the road. In September he takes his message to the United States and the United Nations.


Blog author: bwalker
Wednesday, July 8, 2015

In Calling on Government, the Pope Underestimates Power of the Market
Doug Bandow, Conservative HQ

Perhaps most disappointing is how the Pope seemingly views capitalism, and especially property rights, as enemies of a better, cleaner world. Yet most environmental problems reflect the absence of markets and property rights, the “externalities,” in economist-speak, which impact others.

“We Can No Longer Turn Our Backs On Mother Earth” – To Educators, Francis Teaches His Eco-cyclical
Rocco Palmo, Whispers in the Loggia

Nineteen days after his Eco-cyclical was published to no shortage of spin, hype and polarized contention, in his speech tonight to Ecuador’s community of teachers at the country’s pontifical university, the Pope made his first extensive remarks on Laudato Si’, becoming his definitive statement to date on the text.

Pope Francis, environmentalists, and economists on human stewardship of the Earth
Benjamin Zycher, American Enterprise Institute

In short: Francis makes clear his view that people are assets rather than liabilities, criticizing those who view “men and women and all their interventions as no more than a threat, jeopardizing the global ecosystem, and consequently the presence of human beings on the planet should be reduced and all forms of intervention prohibited” (¶60). And: “demographic growth is fully compatible with an integral and shared development” (¶50). That is a stance diametrically opposed to the dominant view within the mainstream environmental movement that global population growth is the central driver of environmental degradation and that, therefore, people are harmful on net, or at least on the margin. Accordingly, the encyclical is clear, even if Francis fails to recognize it, in its implicit support for the late Julian Simon’s view that human inventiveness and ingenuity — people — are the “ultimate resource,” expanding true resource availability and the wealth that increases both the social demand for environmental quality and the resources needed to achieve it.

The Pope Would Approve: Innovation At Loyola University Chicago Stems From Sustainability
Karis Hustad, Chicago Inno

Here in Chicago, one Catholic university not only heard the Pope’s call to action on climate change, but had already hit the ground running.”It’s in our wheelhouse, this idea of raising awareness on environmental issues and then calling for action,” said Nancy Tuchman, director of Loyola University Chicago’s Institute for Environmental Sustainability (IES). “It not only reinforces what we do, it has encouraged us to go farther.”


Lake Karachay, Russia, often referred to as the most polluted lake on Earth

Lake Karachay, Russia, often referred to as the most polluted lake on Earth

At The Federalist, a round-table discussion brought up several issues regarding the encyclical, Laudato Si’. A quick reading of the discussion sees several themes emerge: the pope shouldn’t be writing about science, this encyclical comes down too heavily against free markets, and that modernity has much to offer in the way of solving humanity’s many problems.

Now, if free markets and capitalism are really to blame for pollution, it would stand to reason that those would be the countries with the worst ecological problems. That is not the case.

On the contrary, the management of the environment in communist countries has been and continues to be much worse than in capitalist ones. For example, Richard Fuller, president of the environmental non-profit Blacksmith Institute once identified the former Soviet Union as having “by far and away the worst problems…” when it comes to environmental protection and land use.


Blog author: bwalker
Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Do the Pope and I live on the same planet?
Steven W. Mosher, New York Post

It is perhaps no coincidence that Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, a radical environmentalist who had a part in drafting the encyclical, is a member of the Club of Rome. Schellnhuber was apparently selected for this role by Archbishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, the head of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

Experts Debunk The Coal Industry’s “Energy Poverty” Argument Against The Pope’s Climate Action
Denise Robbins, Media Matters

Fossil fuel advocates are criticizing Pope Francis’ recent climate encyclical, claiming his call to phase out fossil fuels will harm the poor by preventing access to electricity and keeping them in “energy poverty.” But fossil fuels are not economically viable in most of the communities that suffer from a lack of electricity, and on-the-ground experts have explained that distributed renewable energy sources are often a more effective way to lift the world’s impoverished — who will be most affected by the adverse impacts of climate change — out of energy poverty.

Pope Francis’s Climate Warmup Act
Barbie Latza Nadeau, The Daily Beast

With new allies like Naomi Klein and a tour of his Latin home turf, the pope is clearly getting ready to face off with Republican deniers and Big Oil during his U.S. visit in September.

Science and Religion Collaborate; Pope’s Encyclical Asserts Imperative Need to Halt Climate Change
Felix Balthasar, NewsMaine

Nonetheless, it is important to comprehend that Pope Francis intends to raise public awareness about the forthcoming perils in case the indispensible precautions are not taken now; it very effectively goes beyond religion and addresses the entire global population to adopt ‘changes in lifestyle, production and consumption’.