Published on Jun 18, 2015 http://democracynow.org – In his long-awaited encyclical on the environment and climate change, Pope Francis has called for swift action to save the planet from environmental ruin, urging world leaders to hear “the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor.” He called for a change of lifestyle in rich countries steeped in a “throwaway” consumer culture, and an end to “obstructionist attitudes” that sometimes put profit before the common good.
Pope Francis said protecting the planet is a moral and ethical “imperative” for believers and nonbelievers alike that should supersede political and economic interests. A major theme of the encyclical is the disparity between rich and poor. “We fail to see that some are mired in desperate and degrading poverty, with no way out, while others have not the faintest idea of what to do with their possessions, vainly showing off their supposed superiority and leaving behind them so much waste which, if it were the case everywhere, would destroy the planet,” he said.
We speak to Naomi Klein, author of “This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate.” She has been invited to speak at the Vatican, where she will speak at the “People and Planet First: The Imperative to Change Course” conference. And here in New York is Nathan Schneider, columnist at America magazine, a national Catholic weekly magazine published by the Jesuits.
An Indian boy with a bag filled with recyclable material at a garbage dump in Gauhati, India. Credit Anupam Nath/Associated Press
The new papal encyclical on the environment is a ringing call to action, a critique of consumerism and a prophetic warning about the dangers of ignoring what Pope Francis calls “the ecological crisis.”
But amid all his soaring rhetoric, did the pope get the science right?
The short answer from climate and environmental scientists is that he did, at least to the degree possible in a religious document meant for a broad audience. If anything, they say, he may have bent over backward to offer a cautious interpretation of the scientific facts.
For example, a substantial body of published science says human emissions have caused all the global warming that has occurred over the past century. Yet in his letter, Francis does not go quite that far, citing volcanoes, the sun and other factors that can influence the climate before he concludes that “most global warming in recent decades is due to the great concentration of greenhouse gases” released mainly by human activity.
DEBATE : Thursday, the pope will publish a blunt encyclical, somewhere between a policy paper and an edict, calling for the world’s richest polluters to step up and finance projects to help poorer nations avoid following in their path. He’ll also blast climate change deniers, and the nefarious role of “economic powers” that undermine carbon cutting efforts. How much impact will the encyclical have? And is it Francis’ role to get involved?
Published on Jun 16, 2015
Patty Lovera, Food & Water Watch joins Thom. Chemicals in Roundup are known to be “probably carcinogenic” – but that doesn’t stop Monsanto from pushing the weed killer across the world. Find out how one European country is taking a stand against Big Ag’s “probably cancer-causing” weed killer.
Published on Jun 17, 2015
California is planning to produce half of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030 – and Stanford scientists have a plan for them to go completely renewable by 2050. Does America really need an “All Of The Above” energy strategy – or is it time to go completely renewable?
Published on Jun 18, 2015
Sixteen candidates from both parties have announced that they’re running for president. That’s sixteen candidates with different positions on different issues. So why is the media treating the campaigns like a popularity contest – instead of a real political debate?
Welcome to Transition Studies. To prosper for very much longer on the changing Earth humankind will need to move beyond its current fossil-fueled civilization toward one that is sustained on recycled materials and renewable energy. This is not a trivial shift. It will require a major transition in all aspects of our lives.
This weblog explores the transition to a sustainable future on our finite planet. It provides links to current news, key documents from government sources and non-governmental organizations, as well as video documentaries about climate change, environmental ethics and environmental justice concerns.
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