EcoLinks 07.10.15
Acton Institute Powerblog

EcoLinks 07.10.15

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.

Pope Francis Inspires Catholic Investors to Press Environmental Concerns
Emily Chasan and Maxwell Murphy, The Wall Street Journal

This spring, as Pope Francis prepared his 183-page encyclical calling for a phaseout of fossil fuels, several Catholic institutions in the U.S., including universities and religious orders, began taking steps to dump stocks with heavy exposure to coal and other greenhouse-gas-emitting energy sources. They also urged companies ranging from Bank of America Corp. and Kraft Foods Group Inc. to DuPont Co. to disclose more information about their carbon emissions and the environmental impact of their businesses.

Our environmental problems are also moral problems
Bill Richardson, Albuquerque Journal

Pope Francis spent a year consulting for this encyclical, titled Laudato Sii after a thousand-year-old prayer by his namesake, which thanks God for the miracles of creation. This encyclical reflects the Vatican’s prior statement that “human-induced climate change is a scientific reality and its decisive mitigation is a moral and religious imperative for humanity.” Despite his early training as a chemist, Pope Francis is not out to debate the science or politics of climate change, instead he is focusing on what’s at stake and our duty as Catholics to protect God’s creation.

Pope’s decree fuels debate in academy on fossil fuel divestment
Jon Marcus, Times Higher Education

By putting the climate crisis in spiritual and moral terms, Pope Francis has focused a spotlight on the ethical and economic shift we urgently need,” said May Boeve, executive director of the climate campaign group The group takes its name from the “safe” 350 parts per million limit for atmospheric carbon dioxide. In higher education, there remains robust debate about whether divestment is the right response to the challenge of climate change, or if holding on to their investments gives institutions greater leverage to effect change. It is a debate that has also gained a lot of traction in the UK, where a growing number of universities have chosen to divest in some form.

Pope Francis’ carbon footprint: Does he practice what he preaches?
Rosie Scammell, Religion News Service

The release of Pope Francis’ encyclical has also raised questions about the Vatican’s investment portfolio and whether the city-state has its money tied up with fossil fuel companies. Cardinal Peter Turkson, one of the Catholic Church’s leading voices on the environment, said earlier this month he was unaware of such investments or whether divestment was on the Vatican agenda. Although the Holy See has gained a positive reputation among environmentalists for a green approach, the effects of air travel cannot be excluded from an individual or country’s concerns about climate change, said Asad Rehman, a senior campaigner for Friends of the Earth, an environmental charity based in London.

Why the Pope’s calls for an ecological conversion matters to non-Catholics
Ingrid Leman Stefanovic, Straight

Curious about the first ever papal encyclical on the environment, I took some time recently to read this remarkable work. As a non-Catholic, I need not be among his 1.2 billion followers to realize that Laudato Si is a unique and comprehensive call to a new way of seeing current planetary challenges. I discovered a moving, well-reasoned, far-reaching, optimistic yet realistic testimonial to the power of the human spirit to inspire both social and ecological change. I encountered what might be one of the most central documents published in this century to galvanize genuinely positive action in support of social justice and environmental protection.

How Media Has Helped Advance Big Oil’s Climate Deception Campaign
Denise Robbins, Media Matters

Another API “victory” was for media to recognize “the validity of viewpoints that challenge the current ‘conventional wisdom'” on climate change. A 2013 study published in Public Understanding of Science found that conservative media frequently portray contrarians and deniers as objective experts on science. Mainstream media outlets often follow suit, such as when several major newspapers earlier this year described the fossil fuel-funded Heartland Institute as merely one of many climate “skeptics,” which lent validity to the organization’s criticism of Pope Francis’ climate change encyclical.

Local Catholics respond to pope’s environmental encyclica
Christina Gray, Catholic San Francisco

Here’s a sampling of reaction to Pope Francis’ encyclical “Laudito Si’,” On Care for Our Common Home,” by archdiocesan parishioners, men and women religious, church workers and Catholic leaders who finished reading the 180-page, 40,000-word document. Responses received by the paper ranged from wildly supportive to mildly critical.

Get Out Your Notepad. FrancisChurch is a Font of New Truths
Frank Walker,

We must hate disunity, renounce war, believe Palestine is a country and in a brand new Cuba. We have to think ISIS murderers decide who is a true Christian and believe arms makers are un-Christian hypocrites. My remarried father-in-law told my wife the other day that Pope Francis said we can all get divorced now if we want. Why would he think that? Most of all, among this font of new truths, it is important that we always remember to hate ‘inequality’ wherever it exists.

Vickie Wallin of Acton attends climate conference
Mollie Loughman, Wicked Local

“The conference had 900 people there and we met in groups of three to five with literally every office of Congress. We’re trying to bring attention to the issue because we feel it’s urgent,” said [Citizens Climate Lobby] Boston-MetroWest chapter member Vickie Wallin of Acton [Mass.]. “It’s time to be very vocal on this issue to make legislation happen sooner rather than later because we have to stop spewing carbon.”

Bible: The Pope and Jeb Bush
Kenneth Meyers, Baptist News

Did you hear Pope Francis? “Jeb!” was all over it. Immediately following the released climate change encyclical from the Pope, presidential candidate Jeb Bush said that religion “ought to be about making us better as people, less about things [that] end up getting into the political realm.”

Could Our Planet Really Be Headed Toward The Sixth Mass Extinction?
Aisha Moktadier, Elite Daily

Pope Francis’s encyclical goes beyond just discussing the sole care of the Earth via small means, like turning off water and not wasting food, and includes concepts of the growing gap between the rich and poor, consumerism and human greed.

Bruce Edward Walker

has more than 30 years’ writing and editing experience in a variety of publishing areas, including reference books, newspapers, magazines, media relations and corporate speeches. Much of this material involved research on water rights, land use, alternative-technology vehicles and other environmental issues, but Walker has also written extensively on nonscientific subjects, having produced six titles in Wiley Publishing’s CliffsNotes series, including study guides for "Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland" and "One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest." He has also authored more than 100 critical biographies of authors and musicians for Gale Research's Contemporary Literary Criticism and Contemporary Musicians reference-book series. He was managing editor of The Heartland Institute's InfoTech & Telecom News from 2010-2012. Prior to that, he was manager of communications for the Mackinac Center's Property Rights Network. He also served from 2006-2011 as editor of Michigan Science, a quarterly Mackinac Center publication. Walker has served as an adjunct professor of literature and academic writing at University of Detroit Mercy. For the past five years, he has authored a weekly column for the mid-Michigan Morning Sun newspaper. Walker holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Michigan State University. He is the father of two daughters and currently lives in Flint, Mich., with his wife Katherine.