As the first Advent candle is lit, world leaders will be making their way to Paris to try to create a climate treaty.
Just before the papal encyclical on the environment was released, the hype in environmental circles matched that for Taylor Swift’s latest music video. (To be clear: “Bad Blood” deserves the hype.) Who will Laudato Si’ affect the most? What will its rationale be? What sort of reception will it get? Most importantly: will it matter? With international climate talks again looming and considerable activist pressure on President Obama, the pope’s timing couldn’t be better. While some may dismiss his office as more pomp than power, Francis has been throwing his weight around where he can—and for good.
In Oslo, the freeze-thaw cycle of a warm winter made my bike commute unpleasant. Elsewhere, it's a matter of survival.
A friend recently announced that he had given up hope for the human race. There are days when I find myself thinking about this a lot.
Many Americans dismiss climate change reports as fear mongering. Michael Northcott sees the use of apocalyptic imagery differently.
There is too much carbon in the atmosphere. What if one of the most compelling responses is to restore the carbon in the ground beneath our feet?
When Pope Francis thinks of climate change, he thinks of social justice. In his 2013 inaugural homily as pope, Francis implored “all those who have positions of responsibility in economic, political, and social life” to “be ‘protectors’ of creation, protectors of God’s plan inscribed in nature, protectors of one another and of the environment.” Speaking at an Italian university a year later, Francis announced, “This is our sin, exploiting the Earth and not allowing her to give us what she has within her.” In 2015, Vatican-watchers expect Francis to produce an encyclical that situates climate change within the framework of Catholic social teaching. Francis’s position on the injustices of climate change is not new to the Roman Catholic Church.
Last night, Congress came within a single senator's vote of passing legislation to authorize a major crude oil pipeline from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico that would pump more than 830,000 barrels of high-polluting tar sands oil a day and carry and emit 51 coal plants worth of CO2 (pdf)—despite the fact that U.S. oil demand is falling and, you know, the planet is burning up—in exchange for 35 whole permanent jobs. I'm sorry, I buried the lede: what I meant to say is that the runoff Senate race in Louisiana hasn't happened yet.
In New York, 400,000 people marched to demand action on climate change. Thousands of us were there at least partly because of our faith.