Who can deny the link between climate change and human health? I found very interesting Justin Welby’s article in New York Times about climate change and our moral responsibility.
I welcome the commitment the writer has to encouraging humans to fulfill their duty to preserve the Earth. My hope is that they avoid mixing science with religion, as we have done increasingly since 1980, with disastrous results. In fact, here in the US many, using their flawed version of religious doctrine, deny the role of humans in causing climate change. Our home-grown climate change deniers have taken the position that their beliefs are above reproach and not subject to scientific scrutiny. Neither the Pope nor these writers have taken that position; rather they appear to believe that scientific analysis can help us stabilize and possibly reverse climate change. Let us hope that their majority opinion will result in a shifting of opinion among our climate change deniers, who by some accounts, are but shills for big carbon-based energy industry. We’re all on the same life raft, so we’ll all swim or sink together.
Faith has nothing to do with the climate. Just rely on science and common sense to know we have to act.
While it is encouraging to hear these calls for care – especially from voices with a large audience – I would be happier if they, as religious leaders, would state plainly that we are close to having to ask the Almighty to intervene to help us. This is not “defeatist” – I applaud and encourage every effort to abate the climate crisis – but simply seeing the threat for what it is.
One crazy thing in the climate change debate is that many are so hung up on to what extent man is responsible. I happen to believe it is true, but even if it is not, the oceans are still rising and weather patterns appear to be changing. Miami recently spent a ton of money to defend against rising seas. New York is at risk because of rising oceans and sinking land. California has big issues with drought. Ground water is under assault. If we cannot agree on why, we still should be able to see that there are big issues to address and start to take appropriate actions.
The root problem is over mechanization of our daily lives. We are mammals with migratory instincts, but our migrations are motorized, rather than being physical. The need to burn off energy and move results in sitting down while a powerful motor does the work. This is where health and climate are most closely related. Using a bike for local transportation is a start. I cut my lawn with a golf-club type weedwacker, it keeps me in shape. Recreation is another issue, driving a car to the boat, then driving the boat back to the car. Get kayak, sailboat, bike, rake, instead of a motorboat, leaf blower, riding mower, etc.
A good book that looks at the many sides of this issue — “Be Revolutionary: Some Thoughts from Pope Francis.” As evidenced in Laudato Si, climate change is integrally linked to poverty, justice, globalization, materialism, the discarding of inconvenient people, and many other such issues.
Well, I finally, sense a glimmer of HOPE! That if we, concentrate on what is RIGHT, completely right for everyone and everything. We might be able to save ourselves.
I pray it’s not too late!
If Global Warming isn’t a moral issue, then what is? Any church or religious organization that doesn’t address this issue is abrogating its responsibility. Tell me what Christianity has to do with Capitalism and endless consuming that it needs to defend these things against all comers? A big part of the reason that young people are abandoning the church is that church leaders seem to care more about whether or not gays can be married than the very real possibility that this planet could go down the tubes. The idea that any of these Fundamentalists have any moral authority at all is laughable.
“Climate change” and it’s “low carbon” goals is obviously pro nuclear power propaganda. The first problem is nuclear power causes radioactive waste and has other hazards, if atomic energy is real. The second problem is the big smoke bombs dropped on Japan may have been so the battle ships didn’t need to be so close to their targets. Also, if nuclear power is real, the technology can be used to make atomic bombs, which are more of an environmental threat than imaginary climate change. Suppose “nuclear” power are really run by natural gas. That’s a hydrocarbon.
Too many, commenting on the NYT’s Ed. board on the Pope’s encyclical, start off with something like: “But it doesn’t help to act as though we know what we don’t know” before reeling off a litany of points supposedly still in dispute, with the implicit message that until science becomes certain, why bother making the effort?
This is a wrong way to approach a problem that will not only have enormous historical implications for human civilization, but will change the nature of the biosphere that ALL species share on this planet. And yet…if we would only see the assymetrical logic following from either ‘Yes’ or ‘No’, this becomes a moment of opportunity for mankind. If ever human public institutions were to be called upon to do the necessary things to raise the odds in humanity’s favor, this is it. If we say ‘No’ and we’re wrong, there’s no Plan B; we will have ‘saved’ money to be sure, but for no greater purpose than to hold off the inevitable for a fraction longer. But if we say ‘Yes’ and we’re wrong, yes, we’ll have spent money that might’ve been spent for more cars, yachts, and maybe another tax break, but instead we’ll have invested in the things we KNOW we need anyway: infrastructure efficiencies, a smarter energy grid, science research of all varieties into energy, bio, space, and agriculture. But this investment will NOT have been wasted! Even if goverment isn’t the smartest investor, it does things we individuals can’t do for our future. Reason enough to say ‘Yes’.
Religion and the global warming cultists have so much in common I guess it was just a matter of time before they merged.
It’s just one faith-based religion endorsing another.
Could you supply just one (1) peer-reviewed study from a climatologist that finds global warming is a) not true, and b) not man made. Looking forward to your next post.
Where has the Roman Catholic Church been on this issue? Why has it taken so long to hear a definitive teaching on the care for God’s Creation?
Creation Care has been a movement in mainline and Evangelical Protestant churches for over 30 years. I welcome our Roman Catholic brothers and sisters to this important area of moral stewardship. I just wish it had not taken you so long.
The church has has a lot to say about the environment and over many years.
Concern for the planet does not require religious affiliation, merely ethics. Many of us are old enough to remember a burning river, burning eyes from air pollution, lead paint, dying rivers from nutrient run off, dying lakes from the same nutrients and a host of other contaminants and toxins that harmed children and resulted in birth defects. However, given the actual ACTIONS not the words of Republicans and their conservative base in the past 30 years, they want to roll back the regulations that protected and cleaned our water and air and protected people. What do conservatives conserve anyways? I have yet to meet a catholic republican who agrees with the pope about the environment and the comment sections of the local paper are filled with laughably righteous and zealous indignation that the Pope should even speak about the environment.
“Many of us are old enough to remember a burning river…”
That was my home town (Cleveland), and the Cuyahoga River that ran through it. Back in those days, the large plants in the Cuyahoga River valley (mostly steel plants) just dumped their waste into the river — sludge, oil and all — and much of it floated (and caught on fire in that infamous case).
Cleveland became much cleaner after that (not that I’d want to swim in the Cuyahoga River). The EPA did a pretty good job of enforcing the environmental laws there, thanks in no small part to my father, who reported scofflaws at every opportunity — partly out of civic duty, and partly (mostly?) because his company sold water pollution control equipment and sales inevitably increased shortly after some EPA regulator called a plant manager.
There’s still a lot of clean-up to be done, but many of us remember it being much, much worse in the “good old days.”
The Head of a Church with a one of the largest congregations is showing us about how Science and religion are not mutually exclusive. The Pope is showing us the confluence between moral responsibility for our spiritual selves which includes taking caring of our Planet and that responsibility transcends any race, religion, creed or species.
Protecting Mother Earth does not need a religious connotation. After all, any faith-based creed is not based on facts…but make-believe sentiments counter to empirical evidence and to science. Keeping our environment, and Earth itself, livable and breathable is as natural as we humans are, with no need to invoke a created god, certainly not a personal god, and much less one we try to make similar to ourselves (which would be not only arrogant but fictitious). As an agnostic, I find it amusing that, if there were a god, he or she is doing a heck of a job hiding from us, let alone allowing indiscriminate and widespread nonsensical violence in this world, much of it in the name of a loving god. It is time for us human beings to take responsibility of our acts and change our ways…if stupidity can be harnessed, if greed, dampening our spirit, can be stopped; if dogma may be substituted with an open and crtical mind.
Let’s not bring religion into this issue. There’s no god to save us, or to whom any of us are responsible. We have an implicit moral duty to take care of the earth and its inhabitants. Science and conscience will help us to that.
Meanwhile people are living to 100 despite all this supposed climate change.
Nice try, but no dice.
Eric, Glaciers are melting everywhere. All over the World. And the great North Walls in the Alps (that used to be climbed regularly in summer) are largely unclimbable now in the summer because of the lack of ice.
I suppose though that you believe that the colder it gets the less ice we have in the mountains and the warmer it gets the more ice. If that is what you believe, then please explain to me why it snows in the winter and the snow melts in the summer? It seems to me that if what you believe, it should work the other way around.
Yea, some live to be 100, but how many die of pollutants? Your thinking? Nice try but no dice.
A fabulous first step from religious leaders, but a discussion on environmental protection is not complete without addressing the human explosion and family planning. An equilibrium has to be maintained between present human needs, even with all our technical knowledge, with what nature can provide.
Pope Francis restates the Church’s position that abortion is unacceptable. In fact, it is his basis for the tenet that Man is responsible for Nature in the first place. I doubt there will be any further steps away from this position.
You are aware, aren’t you, that if everybody on the planet lived like the average American family, we would need the equivalent of nearly five Earths to provide enough resources. Large families, lower pollution, and globally improved standards of living are mutually incompatible.
A hard limit on the number of children one is allowed to have may be harsh, but creating social and economic disincentives to having large families is absolutely necessary. Or do you think the Duggars have the right idea?
As an independent, listening to Jeb BUSH, trying to stay open-minded, I thought maybe he had some good ideas. Lost me at climate change yesterday. Climate change is not confined to economic policy. JBush showed linear, compartmentalized thinking. Not what we need.
Unfortunately the GOP no longer stands for what is moral, what is right or for taking the necessary actions to protect our world and the majority of its people. The party of the 1% has dug in its heals and it is long past the time they be shown the door.
Humans have a poor future, if any, one planet earth. Our selfishness and our sheer numbers are destroying the planet that we depend upon for life. And what we don’t destroy, we will fight over. My sadness when I see my grandchildren is overwhelming as I contemplate their future.
This article faces some difficult questions and ignores others. I am fascinated that people of all faiths, and especially agnostics and atheists (I call myself a “mystical atheist”, being a big fan of the wonder of creation, whoever or whatever you attribute it too, and also of tolerance) are clamoring in favor of Laudate Si. It is a magnificent, intelligent, thoughtful and wonderful document.
But I hope in our love of a fine man and a great leader, and the wondrous community he has created by doing this, we don’t forget that the hard part is doing.
We don’t all need the latest “trending” thing, throwing away our electronics with their toxic waste and consumption at an ever increasing pace. We need to embrace the quiet pleasures that don’t need pyrotechnics and screaming but provide lasting pleasures.
We don’t need to hate, even when we are harmed by others. The more we react and fear, the more we escalate the spiral of mutual danger.
I’m thrilled and love a good read, and Laudate Si is amazing, but get a move on. If you doubt me, note the presence of active deniers already in this comment section, seeking to cause doubt and delay. They need to nothing but encourage apathy.
And despair is just another form of apathy. Care for your earth, your family, your community, and the family of humankind, please!
Sorry, it’s spelled Laudato, Si …
‘This is a shared moral responsibility and urgent requirement. Civil society, governmental authorities and religious leaders have an opportunity to make a difference in a way that bridges our diverse opinions and nationalities’.
Absolutely, I may have a rather simplistic view but I never understood why religious people never believed in protecting the environment. If God, any God of any religion now on this planet created this earth and everything on it why humans are bent on destroying it in order to survive and thrive. It seems a bit arrogant and greedy on our part. Especially since only a minority are doing all the taking at the expense of others.
One could consider the earth as our garden of Eden, it provides all we need, from food to fuel to medicine. We may use these provisions wisely while maintaining biodiversity and a healthy natural balance.
One aspect of the Pope’s encyclical, Laudato Si, that seems to be getting short shrift is his undeniable linkage of the so-called “throwaway culture” attitudes leading to climate change and the unforgivable nature of abortion. According to the Pope, Man’s responsibility for nature begins with Birth and is incompatible with abortion. In addition, references to Man’s role as the “tender of the Garden” are based in the Creation story, in Genesis. We all know that story is just fiction, right? Shades of Rick Perry!
Its an odd juxtaposition to see people who reject Christian values, relying on the Pope’s moral authority to butress their secular opinions. Perhaps a few months of attending Mass, which is the Pope’s real goal, will help bridge that gap.
I don’t see anything odd about it. The Pope says murder is wrong, theft is wrong, secular people agree with this.
Things like littering and arson are wrong, the fact that a religious leader speaks out about these things doesn’t make them solely religious issues.
The papal encyclical is the most important document of our times. Now, as the world finally awakens to the challenge of climate change, what we need most of all are positive pathways to a healthier way to life. Only when people see positive things they and their communities can actually do will they act.