Back in June, the Pope warned the world that our rampant consumerism and destructive fossil fuel use could bring about a “doomsday”… a warning that we have an opportunity to protect ourselves from the potential horrors of global warming. But, the message was praised and then largely ignored.
In the United States, the world’s largest fossil fuel consumer (per capita), the Pope spent the past week reaffirming the necessity of sustainable development. Over the course of the week, he appealed to the popular media and a large secular audience. It has been decades since a pope has visited the US and he has been welcomed with open arms. This week, he addressed the UN’s 17 Point Plan for Sustainable Development and reminded us of our moral commitment to the Earth.
From the New York Times:
“Mr. President,” Francis said in his first major speech in English, carefully enunciating each word in his Spanish accent, “I find it encouraging that you are proposing an initiative for reducing air pollution. Accepting the urgency, it seems clear to me also that climate change is a problem which can no longer be left to a future generation. When it comes to the care of our common home, we are living at a critical moment of history.”
Devoting more of his address to that issue than to any other topic, the pope said there was still time to heal the planet for its children. “To use a telling phrase of the Rev. Martin Luther King, we can say that we have defaulted on a promissory note and now is the time to honor it,” he said.]
The full effect of his speeches this week is yet to be seen, but a debate between the two political parties has already erupted over climate change in particular. Pope Francis is dissolving the conflict climate change and religion.