There are a number of resources on the Forum site (http://fore.yale.edu) to provide you more information on the encyclical, including “Frequently Asked Questions on the Papal Encyclical,” a video recording and transcript of the Yale panel discussion entitled “Pope Francis and the Environment: Why His New Climate Encyclical Matters,” and more.
In this newsletter, you will recent news articles that address the encyclical. I’m including the articles that feature Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim first.
On June 18, the Vatican officially released the encyclical — a letter sent by the Pope that is addressed to the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics. The Pope also extended this call to action to all people around the world. This is a crucial moment in the religion and ecology movement, as this is the first encyclical in the history of the Church to address environmental concerns. In the encyclical, Pope Francis declared climate change and environmental protection as related moral, social, and ecological issues. This teaching document could serve as a motivating force for the over one billion Catholics of the world and many other people of spiritual and environmental conviction. The encyclical will undoubtedly bring much needed global attention and focus to these issues.
In an audience with Japanese Bishops, Pope Francis had criticized nuclear power by comparing it with the Tower of Babel, as reported by Takeo Okada, the Archbishop of Tokyo. When human beings attempted to reach heaven they triggered their own destruction. “Human beings should not break the natural laws set by God,” the Pope said. (Mainichi Shinbun March 22, 2015; Asahi Shinbun March 25, 2015)
This is probably the first clear-cut criticism of the “civil use” of nuclear power issued by the Vatican. The Pope expressed his conviction during an ad limina meeting with the Japanese bishops on March 20. “The destruction of nature is a result from human beings claiming domination (over the earth).” With these statements the Pope referred to the TEPCO-nuclear disaster in Fukushima in March 2011. Soon after the terrible disaster, the Japanese Catholic Bishops’ Conference had publicly demanded from the government the immediate shutdown of all nuclear power plants.
The two major churches in Germany demand that the leaders of the G-7 nations steps to global justice and climate protection. “Still there are 90 percent of the world’s wealth in the hands of only 10 percent of the wealthiest nations,” declared the President of the Council of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, and the chairman of the Catholic German Bishops’ Conference, Cardinal Reinhard Marx.
The Bishops call on all Christians in Germany to pray for the success of the G-7 summit on Sunday and Monday in the Bavarian Elmau. “The concern for the living conditions on our planet must be a priority in particular for the powerful and wealthy of this world are,” reads the joint statement. The high-level meeting would contribute to finding solutions to the great challenges of the world.
Despite advances in the fight against extreme poverty, the unequal distribution of life chances have intensified in many countries. “We expect from the G-7 summit a clear commitment to make the world trade and the fair value chains”, explained the top representatives of the two major churches. The powerful industrialized countries should be prepared for the benefit of the global common good, defer national interests and open their markets to the products of poor countries.
The bishops also call for a binding commitment of G-7 countries, 2020 to raise their development aid to 0.7 percent of gross national income own. “Often enough, this post has been promised, the promise but then not respected” criticizing Bedford-Strohm and Marx. At the latest at the International Conference on Financing for Development in mid-July in Addis Ababa the corresponding financing plan should be available.
Also for climate protection, the churches hope for clear signals from Elmau. “We call on the governments of the G-7 countries on, committed to work towards limiting global warming to two degrees Celsius,” reads the statement. Otherwise not only the follow-up costs of climate change will soar, but also the human emergencies would increase. The poorest could often not protect them from the consequences of climate change.
NOTE: If you need captions, please click the CC button on the player to turn them on.
This video introduces the EPA report, Climate Change in the United States: Benefits of Global Action, which explores the significant benefits to the U.S. of global action on climate change. The report looks at expected future climate impacts across 20 U.S. sectors, showing how global action can save U.S. lives, avoid costly repairs to infrastructure, and avoid damages to important ecosystems. The report shows that global action on climate change will significantly benefit Americans by saving lives and avoiding costly damages across the U.S. economy.
Excitement has been building for months about the release of an encyclical on climate change by Pope Francis.
A Papal Encyclical is a formal teaching document that outlines the official position of the Catholic Church on important issues. Most popes release at least one encyclical during their tenure. But public awareness of past releases was usually pretty limited.
PEPPARD: “In prior generations, people in the pews might have heard that the pope was making comments on some kind of issue. Their pastors, priests, etc. might have talked about it from the pulpit on Sunday. Newspapers might have covered it in a very superficial and distant sort of way. Social media has changed all that.”
In an historic letter addressed to all citizens of the globe on Thursday, Pope Francis issued a moral and religious call to action on climate change and, more broadly, environmental degradation. The letter, known in the Catholic Church as an “encyclical,” is the first-ever such document devoted to the environment.
The encyclical recognizes the mainstream climate science findings that the burning of fossil fuels is causing global warming, and it marks Francis’ entrance as a central player in international climate negotiations at a critical time for climate diplomacy.
The document, entitled “Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home,” is lengthy, at 180 pages.
At times, it reads like a climate science or ecology textbook, while other sections explore profound moral, ethical and religious questions about humanity’s relationship with the Earth. Interestingly, it also lays out the pope’s views on our technologically-obsessed society, which he calls a “throwaway culture.”
Here are some of the major points that Pope Francis makes in his letter:
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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