What would Jesus do about global warming? As the pope cries out for the planet, Latin America listens attentively but quizzically Jun 18th 2015, 14:48 | From the print edition
The Centrality of Sustainability by Steven Cohen, Executive Director, Columbia University's Earth Institute Posted: 06/22/2015 8:47 am EDT Updated: 06/22/2015 1:59 pm EDT; /.....The wanton and purposeless consumption of the planet's resources is unethical. Jim Yardley and Laurie Goldstein summarized the encyclical in the New York Times last week and reported that the pope's:...most stinging rebuke is a broad economic and political critique of profit-seeking and the undue influence of technology on society. He praised the progress achieved by economic growth and technology, singling out achievements in medicine, science and engineering. But, he added, "Our immense technological development has not been accompanied by a development in human responsibility, values and conscience.....
While it is helpful for the pope to define sustainability as a moral issue, my own take is that sustainability is a very practical management issue. We need to do a better job of exploiting the planet for our own use so that we can continue to use it without destroying the natural systems that sustain the planet's ecological resources. We preserve the planet not because we love it or because its destruction is unethical, but because we need it. While I personally love nature and consider its destruction unethical, I am not counting on my belief system to dominate. With apologies to the pope, I am counting on self-interest, perhaps of the slightly enlightened form, to deliver a sustainable and renewable economy.
The Miracle of Pope Francis - Opinion, By William McGurn June 22, 2015 7:02 p.m. ET The clash of visions harks back to that between Adam Smith and Thomas Malthus.
You might call it his first miracle. Pope Francis has succeeded in getting the New York Times to do what perhaps no pope has done before: hail a papal teaching as “authoritative.”
For decades the Times has warred with popes over moral issues such as marriage or the value of unborn life. But when it comes to science and climate change, the paper that likes to regard itself as the paper of record is now on record as recognizing the authority of a papal encyclical.
True, the Times did modify its praise with the adverb “unexpectedly.” And in fairness, it was Pope Francis who crossed the Tiber to embrace the Times’s orthodoxy here rather than the other way around. But such is the glee at having a papal imprimatur on the notion of man-made climate change leading the planet to catastrophe, those busy applauding are willing to overlook the pope’s critique of an environmentalism that protects endangered species but not the unborn child....
- On population control: What the Pope says about population growth in the Encylical... Part 50. Instead of resolving the problems of the poor and thinking of how the world can be different, some can only propose a reduction in the birth rate. At times, developing countries face forms of international pressure which make economic assistance contingent on certain policies of “reproductive health”. Yet “while it is true that an unequal distribution of the population and of available resources creates obstacles to development and a sustainable use of the environment, it must nonetheless be recognized that demographic growth is fully compatible with an integral and shared development”. To blame population growth instead of extreme and selective consumerism on the part of some, is one way of refusing to face the issues. It is an attempt to legitimize the present model of distribution, where a minority believes that it has the right to consume in a way which can never be universalized, since the planet could not even contain the waste products of such consumption. Besides, we know that approximately a third of all food produced is discarded, and “whenever food is thrown out it is as if it were stolen from the table of the poor”. Still, attention needs to be paid to imbalances in population density, on both national and global levels, since a rise in consumption would lead to complex regional situations, as a result of the interplay between problems linked to environmental pollution, transport, waste treatment, loss of resources and quality of life.
Where Pope Francis Goes Horribly Wrong With His Economics 6/20/2015 @ 5:45AM 13,555 views; Much of what Pope Francis says in his latest encyclical, Laudato Si, is entirely in line with standard Catholic socio-economic teaching. Sadly, that’s so much the worse for standard Catholic socio-economic teaching, as at the heart of it there’s a couple of assumptions that are simply entirely untrue. And given that these mistakes are at the heart of the argument they do work to rather disprove the rest of the teaching. The basic ideas, that the environment is important, that climate change is a real thing that we should so something about, those are fine of course. It’s not my childhood Catholicism that leads me to support a carbon tax (as an example) but the output of all of the economic research that has been done into the subject. However, the two mistakes are here....http://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2015/06/20/where-pope-francis-goes-horribly-wrong-with-his-economics/
How climate-change doubters lost a papal fight; VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis was about to take a major step backing the science behind human-driven global warming, and Philippe de Larminat was determined to change his mind. A French doubter who authored a book arguing that solar activity — not greenhouse gases — was driving global warming, de Larminat sought a spot at a climate summit in April sponsored by the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences. Nobel laureates would be there. So would U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, U.S. economist Jeffrey Sachs and others calling for dramatic steps to curb carbon emissions. After securing a high-level meeting at the Vatican, he was told that, space permitting, he could join. He bought a plane ticket from Paris to Rome. But five days before the April 28 summit, de Larminat said, he received an e-mail saying there was no space left. It came after other scientists — as well as the powerful Vatican bureaucrat in charge of the academy — insisted he had no business being there. “They did not want to hear an off note,” de Larminat said.The incident highlights how climate-change doubters tried and failed to alter the landmark papal document unveiled last week — one that saw the leader of 1 billion Catholics fuse faith and reason and come to the conclusion that “denial” is wrong....“This was their Waterloo,” said Kert Davies, executive director of the Climate Investigations Center, who has been tracking climate-change deniers for years. “They wanted the encyclical not to happen. And it happened.”
Here is a simple log of readings of Papal Encylical Letter on the environment from the perspective of commodity production sustainability programs (with a few reference notes on palm oil).
20 June 2015: So what can palm oil readers glean from the new debate on sustainability raised by Pope Francis? Part 1 - 54. Parts 34-39 on issues in palm sustainability, part 49 on green rhetoric and social exclusion, no talk of cutting consumption in key markets, market might rules. A warning on superficial / false sustainability policy which does not challenge the models of production and consumption.
Note: It's Saturday night and we are now knuckling down to reading the document. It's an urgent call for doing the right thing for the now (the rich owe the poor big time) and for future generations. But it's also a lot to do with economic hegemonic powers and wrong-headed sustainability policies so far apparently increasing the power of the rich at the expense of the poor - "integrate questions of justice in debates of the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor."
Parts 34-39 cover the issues within palm oil sustainability. Read in particular 35, 38, 39. Monoculture, deforestation and wetland conversion is criticised. Need for biological corridors is noted and the problem of corporate interests is highlighted by the statement that "caring for ecosystems demands far-sightedness... no one looking for quick and easy profit is truly interested in their preservation." No surprises there.
What is unexpected is this: Pope Francis has a view on the stakeholders involved in sustainability policy making and laments the loss of national sovereignty.
In 38, our political economy antennae picks up on "huge global economic interests which under the guise of protecting (tropical forests), can undermine the sovereignty of individual nations.... (and) serve the economic interests of transnational corporations.... legitimate means of pressure... ensure that each government carries out its proper and inalienable responsibility to preserve the country's environment and natural resources, without capitulating to spurious local or international interests."
The Pope is warning on voluntary supranational/ global sustainability efforts?? (We're keen to contact the Vatican communications team on this to find out more.)
Part 49 starts as a strong social critique: "there is little in the way of clear awareness of problems which especially affect the excluded... (They) are brought up as an afterthought, a question which gets added almost out of duty or in a tangential way, if not treated as merely collateral damage." But takes a sharp swipe on misguided policies within sustainability too as "numbing of conscience and... tendentious analyses... exists side by side with a "green" rhetoric... We have to realise that a true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates of the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor."
Note: This immediately leads us to think of the HCS Study of the Sustainable Palm Oil Manifesto group**. Draft Synthesis Report: http://www.carbonstockstudy.com/Public-Consultation/Draft-Synthesis-Report; with a definition of HCS forests, threshold values for carbon emissions, method for identifying and mapping these HCS forests on the ground; and guidance on how to accommodate the rights and livelihoods of local communities and indigenous peoples when implementing a future HCS approach through integrated land use planning. Public consultation period 19 June - 31 July 2015.) **This blog writer led the LMC International team reviewing the Malaysia Felda case study - within the Consulting Study 11 & 12, Comparative studies of socio-economic impacts for this group.
Part 54 points out that the new power structures based on the techno-economic paradigm (part 53) "ends up sidelining anything unrelated to its immediate interests... The most one can expect is superficial rhetoric, sporadic acts of philanthropy and perfunctory expressions of concern for the environment, whereas any genuine attempt by groups within society to introduce change is viewed as a nuisance based on romantic illusion or an obstacle to be circumvented." A fist punch at sustainability efforts by (plantation) producers?
But hang on, we are getting the gist of this document. The elbow dig (at the environmentalist, retailers and CGM bloc pushing sustainability) follows immediately in part 55: "people may well have a growing ecological sensitivity but it has not succeeded in changing their harmful habits of consumption which, rather than decreasing, appear to be growing all the more... such behaviour... appears self destructive."
Note: Indeed there has been no talk of cutting consumption in the developed markets even while palm sustainability is a dozen years old. No one in the supply chain wants that?
The world's focus on markets (and market players) is referred on part 56: "economic powers continue to justify the current global system where priority tends to be given to speculation and the pursuit of financial gain.... (so) environmental degradation and human and ethical degradation are closely linked.. as a result "whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenceless before the interests of a deified market, which becomes the only rule."" Thus, (market) might is right?
Note: Soon after tapping out this question, Part 82 handily replies: "Yet it would also be mistaken to view other living beings as mere objects subjected to arbitrary human domination. When nature is viewed solely as a source of profit and gain, this has serious consequences for society. This vision of “might is right” has engendered immense inequality, injustice and acts of violence against the majority of humanity, since resources end up in the hands of the first comer or the most powerful: the winner takes all.
A warning on superficial / false sustainability policy which does not challenge the models of production and consumption. Part 59: "the rise of a false or superficial ecology which bolsters complacency and a cheerful recklessness... Evasiveness serves as a licence to carrying on with our present lifestyles and models of production and consumption. This is the way human beings contrive to feed their self-destructive vices.."
(notes halted at 59/246 and reading halted at 162/246 - thus no current notes on 60-162)
21 June 2015, morning: Don't let the environment be a guise to penalize developing countries / the poor
. Don't rely on ploys like carbon credits which permits ongoing excessive consumption. Transnational economic and financial sectors block radical decisions on global warming and poverty eradication. The need for strong international institutions. Sustainable growth and business sustainability is "reduced to a series of marketing and image-enhancing measures" in order to distract attention from real changes.
On who should bear the cost of sustainability? The rich should bear the cost of environmental cost, not the poor. Don't let the environment be a guise to penalize developing countries / the poor
. Don't rely on ploys like carbon credits which permits ongoing excessive consumption.
Part 170: "Some strategies for lowering pollutant gas emissions call for the internationalization of environmental costs, which would risk imposing on countries with fewer resources burdensome commitments to reducing emissions comparable to those of the more industrialized countries. Imposing such measures penalizes those countries most in need of development. A further injustices is perpetrated under the guise of protecting the environment. And in Part 171: " carbon credits can lead to a new form of speculation which would not help reduce the emission of polluting gases worldwide... it may simply become a ploy which permits maintaining the excessive consumption of some countries and sectors."
Note: This has been a major bone of contention between the developing and the developed worlds, with the latter broadly saying that the former need not repeat their mistakes, and must make (and pay for as market access compliance cost) the necessary sustainability policies largely fashioned by policy makers from key developed markets. In palm sustainability, the frustration at the asymmetry in policy-making power is palpable, but has not attracted great resourcing as there is intense contestation among the stakeholders within the developing markets, ranging from big buyers, Asian transnational corporations to politicians asking what alternative economic development is there for local peoples residing in peat zones if oil palm development there faces voluntary sustainability program (and hence international market) censure. While plantation companies talk about HCS regimes creating an orderly set of rules for developing palm oil, this still does not answer questions from those in areas which will be deemed "no go / no market access" by large companies in the supply-chain. In this regard, Part 49 is an essential read on the question of justice, as Pope Francis says: "a true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates of the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor."
Transnational economic and financial sectors block radical decisions on global warming and poverty eradication. The need for strong international institutions. Part 175: "The same mindset which stands in the way of making radical decisions to reverse the trend of global warming also stands in the way of achieving the goal of eliminating poverty.... (we are) witnessing a weakening of the power of nation states, chiefly because the economic and financial sectors, being transnational, tends to prevail over the political. Given this situation, it is essential to devise stronger and more efficiently organised international institutions, with functionaries who are appointed fairly by agreement among national governments, and empower to impose sanctions."
Sustainable growth and business sustainability is "reduced to a series of marketing and image-enhancing measures" in order to distract attention from real changes. Part 194: "... it is a matter of redefining our notion of progress. A technological and economic development which does not leave in its wake a better world and an integrally higher quality of life cannot be considered progress. Frequently, in fact, people’s quality of life actually diminishes – by the deterioration of the environment, the low quality of food or the depletion of resources – in the midst of economic growth. In this context, talk of sustainable growth usually becomes a way of distracting attention and offering excuses. It absorbs the language and values of ecology into the categories of finance and technocracy, and the social and environmental responsibility of businesses often gets reduced to a series of marketing and image-enhancing measures.
21 June 2015, evening: Extreme and compulsive consumerism fostered by the techno-economic hegemons. Pope Francis urges a change in lifestyle and (anti-consumption) consumer movements with boycotts to pressure business and the powerful; overcome individualism to get out of ourselves towards the other. While the young have a new ecological sensitivity they (and others) need to be re-educated as they have grown up in a milieu of extreme consumerism and affluence; the "cult of appearances". New good habits needed through little daily actions. Break away from the utilitarian mindset. Community networks and community conversion needed for lasting change. Pope Francis calls for an "integral ecology." How about some contemplative rest instead of empty activism and unfettered greed?
Extreme and compulsive consumerism fostered by the techno-economic hegemons. Part 203: Since the market tends to promote extreme consumerism in an effort to sell its products, people can easily get caught up in a whirlwind of needless buying and spending. Compulsive consumerism is one example of how the techno-economic paradigm affects individuals. Romano Guardini had already foreseen this: “The gadgets and technics forced upon him by the patterns of machine production and of abstract planning mass man accepts quite simply; they are the forms of life itself. To either a greater or lesser degree mass man is convinced that his conformity is both reasonable and just”. This paradigm leads people to believe that they are free as long as they have the supposed freedom to consume. But those really free are the minority who wield economic and financial power. Amid this confusion, postmodern humanity has not yet achieved a new self-awareness capable of offering guidance and direction, and this lack of identity is a source of anxiety. We have too many means and only a few insubstantial ends. and Part 204: The current global situation engenders a feeling of instability and uncertainty, which in turn becomes “a seedbed for collective selfishness”. When people become self-centred and selfenclosed, their greed increases. The emptier a person’s heart is, the more he or she needs things to buy, own and consume. It becomes almost impossible to accept the limits imposed by reality. In this horizon, a genuine sense of the common good also disappears. As these attitudes become more widespread, social norms are respected only to the extent that they do not clash with personal needs. So our concern cannot be limited merely to the threat of extreme weather events, but must also extend to the catastrophic consequences of social unrest. Obsession with a consumerist lifestyle, above all when few people are capable of maintaining it, can only lead to violence and mutual destruction.
Pope Francis urges a change in lifestyle and (anti-consumption) consumer movements with boycotts to pressure business and the powerful; overcome individualism to get out of ourselves towards the other. Part 206: A change in lifestyle could bring healthy pressure to bear on those who wield political, economic and social power. This is what consumer movements accomplish by boycotting certain products. They prove successful in changing the way businesses operate, forcing them to consider their environmental footprint and their patterns of production. When social pressure affects their earnings, businesses clearly have to find ways to produce differently. This shows us the great need for a sense of social responsibility on the part of consumers. “Purchasing is always a moral – and not simply economic – act”. Today, in a word, “the issue of environmental degradation challenges us to examine our lifestyle”.. Part 208: We are always capable of going out of ourselves towards the other. Unless we do this, other creatures will not be recognized for their true worth; we are unconcerned about caring for things for the sake of others; we fail to set limits on ourselves in order to avoid the suffering of others or the deterioration of our surroundings...... If we can overcome individualism, we will truly be able to develop a different lifestyle and bring about significant changes in society.
While the young have a new ecological sensitivity they (and others) need to be re-educated as they have grown up in a milieu of extreme consumerism and affluence; the "cult of appearances". New good habits needed through little daily actions. Break away from the utilitarian mindset. Community networks and community conversion needed for lasting change. Pope Francis calls for an "integral ecology." Part 209: An awareness of the gravity of today’s cultural and ecological crisis must be translated into new habits. Many people know that our current progress and the mere amassing of things and pleasures are not enough to give meaning and joy to the human heart, yet they feel unable to give up what the market sets before them. In those countries which should be making the greatest changes in consumer habits, young people have a new ecological sensitivity and a generous spirit, and some of them are making admirable efforts to protect the environment. At the same time, they have grown up in a milieu of extreme consumerism and affluence which makes it difficult to develop other habits. We are faced with an educational challenge.... Part 211: Yet this education, aimed at creating an “ecological citizenship”, is at times limited to providing information, and fails to instil good habits.... Only by cultivating sound virtues will people be able to make a selfless ecological commitment. A person who could afford to spend and consume more but regularly uses less heating and wears warmer clothes, shows the kind of convictions and attitudes which help to protect the environment. There is a nobility in the duty to care for creation through little daily actions, and it is wonderful how education can bring about real changes in lifestyle.... such as avoiding the use of plastic and paper, reducing water consumption, separating refuse, cooking only what can reasonably be consumed, showing care for other living beings, using public transport or car-pooling, planting trees, turning off unnecessary lights, or any number of other practices.... Reusing something instead of immediately discarding it, when done for the right reasons, can be an act of love which expresses our own dignity.... Part 214: Political institutions and various other social groups are also entrusted with helping to raise people’s awareness.... Part 219. Nevertheless, self-improvement on the part of individuals will not by itself remedy the extremely complex situation facing our world today. Isolated individuals can lose their ability and freedom to escape the utilitarian mindset, and end up prey to an unethical consumerism bereft of social or ecological awareness. Social problems must be addressed by community networks and not simply by the sum of individual good deeds.... The ecological conversion needed to bring about lasting change is also a community conversion.
How about some contemplative rest instead of empty activism and unfettered greed? Part 237: We tend to demean contemplative rest as something unproductive and unnecessary, but this is to do away with the very thing which is most important about work: its meaning. We are called to include in our work a dimension of receptivity and gratuity, which is quite different from mere inactivity. Rather, it is another way of working, which forms part of our very essence. It protects human action from becoming empty activism; it also prevents that unfettered greed and sense of isolation which make us seek personal gain to the detriment of all else.
Notes by Khor Reports Palm Oil on Laudato si' - On care for our common home by Franciscus - Rome, St Peter's (24 May 2015) - with excerpts numbered.
Some key words via pdf auto search
Agriculture, agricultural: 4, 21, 23, 24, 25, 28, 34, 41, 51, 125, 129, 131, 133, 146, 164, 180
Authentic: 4, 5, 10, 92, 112, 147, 205, 213, 225, 231
Crop: 129, 134, 180
Food: 4, 22, 24, 31, 32, 50, 129, 175, 194, 236
Forest, forestry, deforestation, : 8, 23, 24, 25, 32, 38, 39, 41, 51, 142, 164, 167, 195
Indigenous: 146, 179
Integral ecology: 10, 11, 62, 124, 137-162, 225, 230
Plantation, monoculture: 35, 39, 41
Production: 5, 22, 23, 24, 26, 28, 32, 58, 59, 109, 112, 128, 129, 134, 138, 145, 164, 172, 177, 180, 189, 191, 195, 203, 206
Renewable energy (to come)
Key mentions "agriculture" (but there are more references to be had from reading - including on crop rotation, planting areas, leaving loose fruits for local peoples etc....)
25. Climate change is a global problem with grave implications: environmental, social, economic, political and for the distribution of goods. It represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day. Its worst impact will probably be felt by developing countries in coming decades. Many of the poor live in areas particularly affected by phenomena related to warming, and their means of subsistence are largely dependent on natural reserves and ecosystemic services such as agriculture, fishing and forestry. They have no other financial activities or resources which can enable them to adapt to climate change or to face natural disasters, and their access to social services and protection is very limited. For example, changes in climate, to which animals and plants cannot adapt, lead them to migrate; this in turn affects the livelihood of the poor, who are then forced to leave their homes, with great uncertainty for their future and that of their children. There has been a tragic rise in the number of migrants seeking to flee from the growing poverty caused by environmental degradation. They are not recognized by international conventions as refugees; they bear the loss of the lives they have left behind, without enjoying any legal protection whatsoever. Sadly, there is widespread indifference to such suffering, which is even now taking place throughout our world. Our lack of response to these tragedies involving our brothers and sisters points to the loss of that sense of responsibility for our fellow men and women upon which all civil society is founded.
28. Fresh drinking water is an issue of primary importance, since it is indispensable for human life and for supporting terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Sources of fresh water are necessary for health care, agriculture and industry. Water supplies used to be relatively constant, but now in many places demand exceeds the sustainable supply, with dramatic consequences in the short and long term. Large cities dependent on significant supplies of water have experienced periods of shortage, and at critical moments these have not always been administered with sufficient oversight and impartiality. Water poverty especially affects Africa where large sectors of the population have no access to safe drinking water or experience droughts which impede agricultural production. Some countries have areas rich in water while others endure drastic scarcity.
34. It may well disturb us to learn of the extinction of mammals or birds, since they are more visible. But the good functioning of ecosystems also requires fungi, algae, worms, insects, reptiles and an innumerable variety of microorganisms. Some less numerous species, although generally unseen, nonetheless play a critical role in maintaining the equilibrium of a particular place. Human beings must intervene when a geosystem reaches a critical state. But nowadays, such intervention in nature has become more and more frequent. As a consequence, serious problems arise, leading to further interventions; human activity becomes ubiquitous, with all the risks which this entails. Often a vicious circle results, as human intervention to resolve a problem further aggravates the situation. For example, many birds and insects which disappear due to synthetic agrotoxins are helpful for agriculture: their disappearance will have to be compensated for by yet other techniques which may well prove harmful. We must be grateful for the praiseworthy efforts being made by scientists and engineers dedicated to finding solutions to man-made problems. But a sober look at our world shows that the degree of human intervention, often in the service of business interests and consumerism, is actually making our earth less rich and beautiful, ever more limited and grey, even as technological advances and consumer goods continue to abound limitlessly. We seem to think that we can substitute an irreplaceable and irretrievable beauty with something which we have created ourselves.
51. Inequity affects not only individuals but entire countries; it compels us to consider an ethics of international relations. A true “ecological debt” exists, particularly between the global north and south, connected to commercial imbalances with effects on the environment, and the disproportionate use of natural resources by certain countries over long periods of time. The export of raw materials to satisfy markets in the industrialized north has caused harm locally, as for example in mercury pollution in gold mining or sulphur dioxide pollution in copper mining. There is a pressing need to calculate the use of environmental space throughout the world for depositing gas residues which have been accumulating for two centuries and have created a situation which currently affects all the countries of the world. The warming caused by huge consumption on the part of some rich countries has repercussions on the poorest areas of the world, especially Africa, where a rise in temperature, together with drought, has proved devastating for farming. There is also the damage caused by the export of solid waste and toxic liquids to developing countries, and by the pollution produced by companies which operate in less developed countries in ways they could never do at home, in the countries in which they raise their capital: “We note that often the businesses which operate this way are multinationals. They do here what they would never do in developed countries or the so-called first world. Generally, after ceasing their activity and withdrawing, they leave behind great human and environmental liabilities such as unemployment, abandoned towns, the depletion of natural reserves, deforestation, the impoverishment of agriculture and local stock breeding, open pits, riven hills, polluted rivers and a handful of social works which are no longer sustainable”.
131. Here I would recall the balanced position of Saint John Paul II, who stressed the benefits of scientific and technological progress as evidence of “the nobility of the human vocation to participate responsibly in God’s creative action”, while also noting that “we cannot interfere in one area of the ecosystem without paying due attention to the consequences of such interference in other areas”. He made it clear that the Church values the benefits which result “from the study and applications of molecular biology, supplemented by other disciplines such as genetics, and its technological application in agriculture and industry”. But he also pointed out that this should not lead to “indiscriminate genetic manipulation” which ignores the negative effects of such interventions. Human creativity cannot be suppressed. If an artist cannot be stopped from using his or her creativity, neither should those who possess particular gifts for the advancement of science and technology be prevented from using their God-given talents for the service of others. We need constantly to rethink the goals, effects, overall context and ethical limits of this human activity, which is a form of power involving considerable risks.
164. Beginning in the middle of the last century and overcoming many difficulties, there has been a growing conviction that our planet is a homeland and that humanity is one people living in a common home. An interdependent world not only makes us more conscious of the negative effects of certain lifestyles and models of production and consumption which affect us all; more importantly, it motivates us to ensure that solutions are proposed from a global perspective, and not simply to defend the interests of a few countries. Interdependence obliges us to think of one world with a common plan. Yet the same ingenuity which has brought about enormous technological progress has so far proved incapable of finding effective ways of dealing with grave environmental and social problems worldwide. A global consensus is essential for confronting the deeper problems, which cannot be resolved by unilateral actions on the part of individual countries. Such a consensus could lead, for example, to planning a sustainable and diversified agriculture, developing renewable and less polluting forms of energy, encouraging a more efficient use of energy, promoting a better management of marine and forest resources, and ensuring universal access to drinking water.
180. There are no uniform recipes, because each country or region has its own problems and limitations. It is also true that political realism may call for transitional measures and technologies, so long as these are accompanied by the gradual framing and acceptance of binding commitments. At the same time, on the national and local levels, much still needs to be done, such as promoting ways of conserving energy. These would include favouring forms of industrial production with maximum energy efficiency and diminished use of raw materials, removing from the market products which are less energy efficient or more polluting, improving transport systems, and encouraging the construction and repair of buildings aimed at reducing their energy consumption and levels of pollution. Political activity on the local level could also be directed to modifying consumption, developing an economy of waste disposal and recycling, protecting certain species and planning a diversified agriculture and the rotation of crops. Agriculture in poorer regions can be improved through investment in rural infrastructures, a better organization of local or national markets, systems of irrigation, and the development of techniques of sustainable agriculture. New forms of cooperation and community organization can be encouraged in order to defend the interests of small producers and preserve local ecosystems from destruction. Truly, much can be done!
News links on Pope Francis' views on sustainability
19 June 2015: Papal Encylical Letter on the environment - "Pope Francis unmasks himself not only as a very green pontiff, but also as a total policy wonk"
Friday night: Based on a quick look at news sources, the preliminary summary on what Pope Francis has to say about the global commodity supply-chain problems. Pope Francis:
blames the ‘ecological crisis’ on the indifference of the powerful Pope Francis has called on the world’s rich nations to begin paying their “grave social debt” to the poor and take concrete steps on climate change. He attacks over consumption, and the rich who feel they are "more human.. born with greater rights" while caring little for those in poverty
calls for substituting fossil fuels with clean and renewable energy (but acknowledges gas as a better interim energy source versus the likes of coal)
laments the lack of political will - politicians are unwilling to upset consumerism and fearful of upsetting foreign investors
questions the boom-bust economic cycles with bank bailouts and financing over production - "Production is not always rational, and is usually tied to economic variables which assign to products a value that does not necessarily correspond to their real worth. This frequently leads to an overproduction of some commodities, with unnecessary impact on the environment and with negative results on regional economies. The financial bubble also tends to be a productive bubble..."
points to the negatives of commodity production impacts as "underground water sources in many places are threatened by the pollution produced in certain mining, farming and industrial activities, especially in countries lacking adequate regulation or controls. It is not only a question of industrial waste. Detergents and chemical products, commonly used in many places of the world, continue to pour into our rivers, lakes and seas.... The export of raw materials to satisfy markets in the industrialized north has caused harm locally... it is essential to show special care for indigenous communities and their cultural traditions. They are not merely one minority among others, but should be the principal dialogue partners, especially when large projects affecting their land are proposed. For them, land is not a commodity but rather a gift from God and from their ancestors who rest there, a sacred space with which they need to interact if they are to maintain their identity and values. When they remain on their land, they themselves care for it best. Nevertheless, in various parts of the world, pressure is being put on them to abandon their homelands to make room for agricultural or mining projects which are undertaken without regard for the degradation of nature and culture"
takes on big business, appearing to back "what consumer movements accomplish by boycotting certain products" in order to force companies to respect the environment.
but he rejects "market approach" to environmental issues e.g. carbon credits may lead to speculation and allows excess consumption in some countries and some sectors: "we need to reject a magical conception of the market, which would suggest that problems can be solved simply by an increase in the profits of companies or individuals"
laments that "human intervention, often in the service of business interests and consumerism, is actually making our earth less rich and beautiful..."
argues that "Agriculture in poorer regions can be improved through investment in rural infrastructures, a better organization of local or national markets, systems of irrigation, and the development of techniques of sustainable agriculture. New forms of cooperation and community organization can be encouraged in order to defend the interests of small producers and preserve local ecosystems from destruction.."
he is wary of risks of genetic modification
... more to come.....
It's all rather (business) politically sensitive.... "The most controversial papal pronouncement in half a century.... won broad praise from scientists, the United Nations and climate change activists, as well as U.S. President Barack Obama, who lauded the pope for making the case "clearly, powerfully, and with the full moral authority of his position." The pope also raised the wrath of conservatives, including several U.S. Republican presidential candidates and leading lawmakers, who have scolded him for delving into science and politics..... http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/06/18/us-pope-environment-idUSKBN0OX1LW20150618
News coverage includes:
ENCYCLICAL LETTER LAUDATO SI’ OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS ON CARE FOR OUR COMMON HOME
Excerpts from Pope Francis encyclical on the environment Updated: Thursday June 18, 2015 MYT 6:45:05 PM (Reporting by Philip Pullella; Editing by Tom Heneghan)
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis on Thursday issued a major encyclical on the environment, called "Laudato Si (Praise Be), On the Care of Our Common Home". Here are some key excerpts from the official English version:
ON CONSUMPTION, SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AND WEALTH DISPARITY
"We all know that it is not possible to sustain the present level of consumption in developed countries and wealthier sectors of society, where the habit of wasting and discarding has reached unprecedented levels. The exploitation of the planet has already exceeded acceptable limits and we still have not solved the problem of poverty."
"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. In practice, we continue to tolerate that some consider themselves more human than others, as if they had been born with greater rights."
ON FOSSIL FUELS
"There is an urgent need to develop policies so that, in the next few years, the emission of carbon dioxide and other highly polluting gases can be drastically reduced, for example, substituting for fossil fuels and developing sources of renewable energy. Worldwide there is minimal access to clean and renewable energy. There is still a need to develop adequate storage technologies."
"We know that technology based on the use of highly polluting fossil fuels – especially coal, but also oil and, to a lesser degree, gas – needs to be progressively replaced without delay. Until greater progress is made in developing widely accessible sources of renewable energy, it is legitimate to choose the lesser of two evils or to find short-term solutions. But the international community has still not reached adequate agreements about the responsibility for paying the costs of this energy transition."
ON POLITICAL MYOPIA AND BUREAUCRATIC INERTIA
"...recent world summits on the environment have not lived up to expectations because, due to lack of political will, they were unable to reach truly meaningful and effective global agreements on the environment."
"A politics concerned with immediate results, supported by consumerist sectors of the population, is driven to produce short-term growth. In response to electoral interests, governments are reluctant to upset the public with measures which could affect the level of consumption or create risks for foreign investment. The myopia of power politics delays the inclusion of a far-sighted environmental agenda within the overall agenda of governments."
ON MARKET FORCES AND CARBON CREDITS
"Once more, we need to reject a magical conception of the market, which would suggest that problems can be solved simply by an increase in the profits of companies or individuals. Is it realistic to hope that those who are obsessed with maximizing profits will stop to reflect on the environmental damage which they will leave behind for future generations? Where profits alone count, there can be no thinking about the rhythms of nature, its phases of decay and regeneration, or the complexity of ecosystems which may be gravely upset by human intervention."
"The strategy of buying and selling 'carbon credits' can lead to a new form of speculation which would not help reduce the emission of polluting gases worldwide. This system seems to provide a quick and easy solution under the guise of a certain commitment to the environment, but in no way does it allow for the radical change which present circumstances require. Rather, it may simply become a ploy which permits maintaining the excessive consumption of some countries and sectors."
ON RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN BANKS, ENVIRONMENT AND PRODUCTION
"Saving banks at any cost, making the public pay the price, foregoing a firm commitment to reviewing and reforming the entire system, only reaffirms the absolute power of a financial system, a power which has no future and will only give rise to new crises after a slow, costly and only apparent recovery. The financial crisis of 2007-08 provided an opportunity to develop a new economy, more attentive to ethical principles, and new ways of regulating speculative financial practices and virtual wealth. But the response to the crisis did not include rethinking the outdated criteria which continue to rule the world. Production is not always rational, and is usually tied to economic variables which assign to products a value that does not necessarily correspond to their real worth. This
frequently leads to an overproduction of some commodities, with unnecessary impact on the environment and with negative results on regional economies. The financial bubble also tends to be a productive bubble. The problem of the real economy is not confronted with vigour, yet it is the real economy which makes diversification and improvement in production possible helps companies to function well, and enables small and medium businesses to develop and create employment."
THE EFFECT OF MINING ON THE ENVIRONMENT AND LOCAL PEOPLE
"underground water sources in many places are threatened by the pollution produced in certain mining, farming and industrial activities, especially in countries lacking adequate regulation or controls. It is not only a question of industrial waste. Detergents and chemical products, commonly used in many places of the world, continue to pour into our rivers, lakes and seas."
"The export of raw materials to satisfy markets in the industrialized north has caused harm locally, as for example in mercury pollution in gold mining or sulphur dioxide pollution in copper mining. There is a pressing need to calculate the use of environmental space throughout the world for depositing gas residues which have been accumulating for two centuries and have created a situation which currently affects all the countries of the world."
"In this sense, it is essential to show special care for indigenous communities and their cultural traditions. They are not merely one minority among others, but should be the principal dialogue partners, especially when large projects affecting their land are proposed. For them, land is not a commodity but rather a gift from God and from their ancestors who rest there, a sacred space with which they need to interact if they are to maintain their identity and values. When they remain on their land, they themselves care for it best. Nevertheless, in various parts of the world, pressure is being put on them to abandon their homelands to make room for agricultural or mining projects which are undertaken without regard for the degradation of nature and culture."
Pope Blames Markets for Environment’s Ills - Pontiff condemns global warming as outgrowth of global consumerism; ROME— Pope Francis in his much-awaited encyclical on the environment offered a broad and uncompromising indictment of the global market economy, accusing it of plundering the Earth at the expense of the poor and of future generations. In passionate language, the pontiff attributed global warming to human activity, blamed special interests for holding back policy responses and said the global North owes the South “an ecological debt.” The 183-page document, which Pope Francis addresses to “every person living on this planet,” includes pointed critiques of globalization and consumerism, which he says lead to environmental degradation. “The Earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth,” he writes.
Pope's climate change encyclical tells rich nations: pay your debt to the poor - Pontiff’s 180-page intervention in climate change debate casts blame for ‘ecological crisis’ on the indifference of the powerful Pope Francis has called on the world’s rich nations to begin paying their “grave social debt” to the poor and take concrete steps on climate change
, saying failure to do so presents an undeniable risk to a “common home” that is beginning to resemble a “pile of filth”. The pope’s 180-page encyclical on the environment, released on Thursday, is at its core a moral call for action on phasing out the use of fossil fuels. But it is also a document infused with an activist anger and concern for the poor, casting blame on the indifference of the powerful in the face of certain evidence that humanity is at risk following 200 years of misuse of resources. Up to now, he says, the world has accepted a “cheerful recklessness” in its approach to the issue, lacking the will to change habits for the good of the Earth. “Climate change is a global problem with grave implications: environmental, social, economic, political and for the distribution of goods,” the papal statement says. “It represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day.” The release of the statement was timed with the pope’s upcoming trip to the US, where he will speak before the United Nations and a joint session of the Congress. “This is his signature teaching,” said Austen Ivereigh, who has written a biography of the pope. “Francis has made it not just safe to be Catholic and green; he’s made it obligatory.”.... http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jun/18/popes-climate-change-encyclical-calls-on-rich-nations-to-pay-social-debt
Pope Francis, in Sweeping Encyclical, Calls for Swift Action on Climate Change By JIM YARDLEY and LAURIE GOODSTEIN JUNE 18, 2015 VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis on Thursday called for a radical transformation of politics, economics and individual lifestyles to confront environmental degradation and climate change, blending a biting critique of consumerism and irresponsible development with a plea for swift and unified global action. The vision that Francis outlined in a 184-page papal encyclical is sweeping in ambition and scope: He describes relentless exploitation and destruction of the environment and says apathy, the reckless pursuit of profits, excessive faith in technology and political shortsightedness are to blame. The most vulnerable victims, he declares, are the world’s poorest people, who are being dislocated and disregarded..... http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/19/world/europe/pope-francis-in-sweeping-encyclical-calls-for-swift-action-on-climate-change.html?_r=0
Pope Francis: 'Revolution' needed to combat climate change By Daniel Burke, CNN Religion Editor Updated 0107 GMT (0807 HKT) June 19, 2015 | Video Source: CNN (CNN)—As a former teacher, Pope Francis knows how to deliver a stern lecture. On Thursday, he gave one for the ages.
While slamming a slew of modern trends -- the heedless worship of technology, our addiction to fossil fuels and compulsive consumerism -- the Pope said humanity's "reckless" behavior has pushed the planet to a perilous "breaking point." "Doomsday predictions," the Pope warned, "can no longer be met with irony or disdain." Citing the scientific consensus that global warming is disturbingly real, Francis left little doubt about who to blame. Big businesses, energy companies, short-sighted politicians, scurrilous scientists, laissez faire economists, indifferent individuals, callous Christians and myopic media professionals. Scarcely any area of society escaped his withering criticism.
10 key excerpts from Pope Francis’s encyclical on the environment By Sarah Pulliam Bailey June 18 at 6:45 AM Pope Francis is calling for an “ecological conversion” for the faithful in his sweeping new encyclical on the environment. In “Laudato Si,” or “Be Praised” (or “Praised Be,”) he warns of harming birds and industrial waste and calls for renewable fuel subsidies and energy efficiency.
Here are some of the key passages people will read closely, everything from climate change and global warming to abortion and population control.
1) Climate change has grave implications
2) Rich countries are destroying poor ones, and the earth is getting warmer
3) Christians have misinterpreted Scripture
4) The importance of access to safe drinkable water is “a basic and universal human right.”
5) Technocratic domination leads to the destruction of nature and the exploitation of people, and “by itself the market cannot guarantee integral human development and social inclusion.”
6) Population control does not address the problems of the poor
7) Gender differences matter
8) The international community has not acted enough
9) Individuals must act. “An integral ecology is also made up of simple daily gestures which break with the logic of violence, exploitation and selfishness,” he writes. We should also consider taking public transit, car-pooling, planting trees, turning off the lights and recycling.
10) By the way, why are we here on Earth in the first place? “What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up?” he writes....
Release of encyclical reveals pope’s deep dive into climate science By Anthony Faiola, Michelle Boorstein and Chris Mooney June 18 at 3:10 PM VATICAN CITY — He warns of “synthetic agrotoxins” harming birds and insects and “bioaccumulation” from industrial waste. He calls for renewable fuel subsidies and “maximum energy efficiency.
” And although he offers prayers at the beginning and end of his heavily anticipated missive on the environment, Pope Francis unmasks himself not only as a very green pontiff, but also as a total policy wonk
. In the 192-page paper released Thursday, Francis lays out the argument for a new partnership between science and religion to combat human-driven climate change — a position bringing him immediately into conflict with skeptics, whom he chides for their “denial.” Francis urges taking public transit, carpooling, planting trees, turning off unnecessary lights, recycling — and boycotting certain products. He called for an “ecological conversion” for the faithful. http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/how-pope-franciss-not-yet-official-document-on-climate-change-is-already-stirring-controversy/2015/06/17/ef4d46be-14fe-11e5-9518-f9e0a8959f32_story.html
News coverage on political reactions
: Pope demands 'action now' to save planet from environmental ruin VATICAN CITY | By Philip Pullella Thu Jun 18, 2015 7:03pm EDT Pope Francis demanded swift action on Thursday to save the planet from environmental ruin, urging world leaders to hear "the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor" and plunging the Catholic Church into political controversy over climate change. In the first papal document dedicated to the environment, he called for "decisive action, here and now," to stop environmental degradation and global warming, squarely backing scientists who say it is mostly man-made. In the encyclical "Laudato Si (Praise Be), On the Care of Our Common Home", Francis, the first pope from a developing nation, advocated a change of lifestyle in rich countries steeped in a "throwaway" consumer culture and an end to an "obstructionist attitudes" that sometimes put profit before the common good. He also took on big business, appearing to back "what consumer movements accomplish by boycotting certain products" in order to force companies to respect the environment..... The most controversial papal pronouncement in half a century.... won broad praise from scientists, the United Nations and climate change activists, as well as U.S. President Barack Obama, who lauded the pope for making the case "clearly, powerfully, and with the full moral authority of his position." The pope also raised the wrath of conservatives, including several U.S. Republican presidential candidates and leading lawmakers, who have scolded him for delving into science and politics.
: Papal environment encyclical a win for the Greens, challenge for Abbott Date June 19, 2015 - 5:32PM 34 reading now by Matthew Knott Politicians from across the political spectrum and Catholic Church leaders have welcomed Pope Francis' major encyclical on the environment, saying they expect it to have a significant impact on the local and international climate change debate, with the potential to change voting intentions. Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart, who is also president of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, described the encyclical as a "clarion call" to all global leaders, including Australia's, to take stronger leadership on climate change. "I would hope our leaders, including Mr Abbott, would carefully consider the message of the encyclical," Archbishop Hart said.........Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull said he thinks "everyone will give it great weight", including Prime Minister Tony Abbott. "I think this is a very, very significant move by the Pope, to make the church and the leadership of the church much more relevant to young people," Mr Turnbull said on Friday. In his encyclical, released on Thursday night Australian time, Pope Francis bemoans "weak international political responses" to environmental issues.
At least eight of Mr Abbott's 19 cabinet ministers are Catholics, including the Prime Minister, who trained for the priesthood in his youth. Mr Abbott last year said coal was "good for humanity" and said recently he wished the Howard government had never implemented the Renewable Energy Target..........Jesuit priest Frank Brennan said he expected Pope Francis' intervention to increase the mainstream appeal of the Greens, including among Catholic voters."In the past in Australia, church leaders like [former Sydney Archbishop] Cardinal [George] Pell cautioned people against voting for the Greens," Father Brennan said. "That sort of thing is out the window now. Minor parties like the Greens can take heart that the Catholic Church thinks environmental issues are central to political debate." Cardinal Pell, now the Vatican's finance chief, previously warned Catholics not to vote for the Greens, describing them as "sweet camouflaged poison"..........