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CARING FOR GOD’S CREATION IN THE 21 ST CENTURY Reflections on Theology, Science, Climate Change and Our Interconnected Global Environment. Katie Hirschboeck, PhD

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Caring for god s creation in the 21 st century

CARING FOR GOD’S CREATIONIN THE 21ST CENTURY

Reflections on Theology, Science, Climate Changeand Our Interconnected Global Environment

Katie Hirschboeck, PhD

Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research &Chair, Global Change Graduate Interdisciplinary ProgramThe St. Albert the Great Forum on Theology & ScienceThe University of Arizona Catholic Newman Center

2 May 2011


Catholic climate covenant

Catholic Climate Covenant

Name of host organization (parish, etc.)

Date

Name of Catholic Climate Ambassador

CatholicClimateCovenant.org


U s conference of catholic bishops usccb

U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)

“At its core, global climate change is not about economic theory or political platforms, nor about partisan advantage or interest group pressures. It is about the future of God’s creation and the one human family.”

Global Climate Change:

A Plea for Dialogue, Prudence, and the Common Good

2001

CatholicClimateCovenant.org


Care for god s creation biblical

Care for God’s Creation- Biblical

“The LORD God then took the man and settled him in the garden of Eden, to cultivate and care for it.”

Genesis 2:15

“The land shall not be sold in perpetuity; for the land is mine, and you are but aliens who have become my tenants. Therefore, in every part of the country that you occupy, you must permit the land to be redeemed.”

Leviticus 25:23

CatholicClimateCovenant.org


Care for god s creation st francis of assisi

Care for God’s Creation- St. Francis of Assisi

“Praised be my Lord for our mother the Earth, which sustains us and keeps us.”

St. Francis’ Canticle of the Sun

“Francis reminds us that the wisdom and benevolence of the Creator is expressed through Creation. He understood nature as a language in which God speaks to us, in which reality becomes clear, and we can speak of God and with God.”

Pope Benedict XVI, Saint Francis of Assisi

General Audience, 27 January 2010

CatholicClimateCovenant.org


Care for god s creation modern

Care for God’s Creation- Modern

“[Humanity’s] dominion over inanimate and other living beings granted by the Creator is not absolute; it is limited by concern for the quality of life of [our] neighbor, including generations to come; it requires a religious respect for the integrity of creation."

Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 2415

CatholicClimateCovenant.org


Care for god s creation modern1

Care for God’s Creation- Modern

“Care for Creation is not a new component of Catholic identity. It is as old as Genesis, and is woven into the very fabric of Catholic mission.”

Dan Misleh

Executive Director, Catholic Coalition on Climate Change

"Stewardship implies that we must both care for creation according to standards that are not of our own making and at the same time be resourceful in finding ways to make the earth flourish."

USCCB

Renewing the Earth, 1991, p. 6

CatholicClimateCovenant.org


Care for god s creation modern2

Care for God’s Creation- Modern

“I wish to repeat that the ecological crisis is a moral issue.” (emphasis in original)

Pope John Paul II

1990 World Day of Peace Message, No. 15

“Preservation of the environment, promotion of sustainable development and particular attention to climate change are matters of grave concern for the entire human family.”

Pope Benedict XVI

Letter of His Holiness Benedict XVI to the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople

on the Occasion of the Seventh Symposium of the Religion,

Science and the Environment Movement (2007)

CatholicClimateCovenant.org


Care for god s creation the human environment and the natural environment

Care for God’s Creation- The Human Environment and the Natural Environment

“Today, indeed, there is a growing awareness that [humanity] and [the] environment are more inseparable than ever.  The environment essentially conditions [our] life and development, while [humanity], in [our] turn, perfects and ennobles [our] environment through [our] presence, work, and contemplation.”

Pope Paul VI

A Hospitable Earth for Future Generations

Message to the Stockholm Conference on Human Environment

June 1, 1972

CatholicClimateCovenant.org


Care for god s creation the human environment and the natural environment1

Care for God’s Creation- The Human Environment and the Natural Environment

“In nature, the believer recognizes the wonderful result of God's creative activity, which we may use responsibly to satisfy our legitimate needs, material or otherwise, while respecting the intrinsic balance of creation.

“If this vision is lost, we end up either considering nature an untouchable taboo or, on the contrary, abusing it. Neither attitude is consonant with the Christian vision of nature as the fruit of God's creation.”

Pope Benedict XVI

Encyclical letter Caritas in Veritate, No. 48

2009

CatholicClimateCovenant.org


Care for god s creation the human environment and the natural environment2

Care for God’s Creation- The Human Environment and the Natural Environment

“[W]e cannot interfere in one area of the ecosystem without paying due attention both to the consequences of such interference in other areas and to the well-being of future generations.” (emphasis in original)

Pope John Paul II

1990 World Day of Peace Message, No. 6

CatholicClimateCovenant.org


Care for god s creation life and dignity of the human person

Care for God’s Creation- Life and Dignity of the Human Person

“Our tradition calls us to protect the life and dignity of the human person, and it is increasingly clear that this task cannot be separated from the care and defense of all of creation.”

USCCB

Renewing the Earth: An Invitation to Reflection and Action on the Environment in Light of Catholic Social Teaching, 1991

CatholicClimateCovenant.org


Care for god s creation life and dignity of the human person1

Care for God’s Creation- Life and Dignity of the Human Person

“If you have [people] who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have [people] who will deal likewise with their fellow [humanity].”

St. Francis of Assisi

CatholicClimateCovenant.org


Care for god s creation life and dignity of the human person2

Care for God’s Creation- Life and Dignity of the Human Person

“[H]ow can we separate, or even set at odds, the protection of the environment and the protection of human life, including the life of the unborn?”

Pope Benedict XVI

2010 Address to the Diplomatic Corps

“The way humanity treats the environment influences the way it treats itself, and vice versa.”

Pope Benedict XVI

Papal Encyclical Caritas in Veritate,

No. 51 (2009)

CatholicClimateCovenant.org


Pope benedict xvi

Pope Benedict XVI

“The environment is God's gift to everyone, and in our use of it we have a responsibility towards the poor, towards future generations and towards humanity as a whole.”

Encyclical letter Caritas in Veritate, No. 48

2009

CatholicClimateCovenant.org


Caring for god s creation in the 21 st century

http://www.ecy.wa.gov/climatechange/whatis.htm

CatholicClimateCovenant.org


Predicted impacts of climate change

Predicted Impacts of Climate Change

CatholicClimateCovenant.org


Anthropogenic climate change

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF)

U.S. National Academies of Science

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

Academia Brasiliera de Ciências (Brazil)

Royal Society of Canada

Chinese Academy of Sciences

Académie des Sciences (France)

Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina (Germany)

Indian National Science Academy (India)

Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei (Italy)

Science Council of Japan

Royal Society (UK)

Anthropogenic Climate Change

CatholicClimateCovenant.org


U s conference of catholic bishops usccb1

U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)

“[W]e accept the consensus findings of so many scientists and the conclusions of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as a basis for continued research and prudent action.”

Global Climate Change:

A Plea for Dialogue, Prudence, and the Common Good

2001

CatholicClimateCovenant.org


Pope benedict xvi1

Pope Benedict XVI

  • “Can we remain indifferent before the problems associated with such realities as climate change, desertification, the deterioration and loss of productivity in vast agricultural areas, the pollution of rivers and aquifers, the loss of biodiversity, the increase of natural catastrophes and the deforestation of equatorial and tropical regions?

  • “Can we disregard the growing phenomenon of ‘environmental refugees’, people who are forced by the degradation of their natural habitat to forsake it – and often their possessions as well – in order to face the dangers and uncertainties of forced displacement?”

    2010 World Day of Peace Message, No. 4


Caring for god s creation in the 21 st century

Seven Key Themes of Catholic Social Teaching (USCCB)http://www.usccb.org/sdwp/projects/socialteaching/excerpt.shtml

Life and Dignity of the Human Person

Call to Family, Community, and Participation

Rights and Responsibilities

Option for the Poor and Vulnerable

The Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers

Solidarity

Care for God’s Creation

CatholicClimateCovenant.org


Seven key themes of catholic social teaching usccb

Seven Key Themes of Catholic Social Teaching (USCCB)

“Many people recognize that the issue of climate change relates to the seventh theme, Care for God’s Creation . . .

“But it is also true that other principles of Catholic Social Teaching can help inform our consciences and actions as we face the question of climate change.”

Catholic Social Teaching and Climate Change

Catholic Coalition on Climate Change

2010

CatholicClimateCovenant.org


Key principles guiding us catholic bishops approach to climate change

Key Principles Guiding US Catholic Bishops’ Approach to Climate Change

  • Prudence

  • Poverty

  • The Common Good

CatholicClimateCovenant.org


Prudence

Prudence

“[A] thoughtful, deliberate, and reasoned basis for taking or avoiding action to achieve a moral good.”

“The virtue of prudence is paramount in addressing climate change.”

USCCB

Global Climate Change:

A Plea for Dialogue, Prudence, and the Common Good

2001

CatholicClimateCovenant.org


Prudence1

Prudence

"In facing climate change, what we already know requires a response; it cannot be easily dismissed.

“Significant levels of scientific consensus- even in a situation with less than full certainty, where the consequences of not acting are serious- justifies, indeed can obligate, our taking action intended to avert potential dangers.

CatholicClimateCovenant.org


Prudence2

Prudence

"In other words, if enough evidence indicates that the present course of action could jeopardize humankind's well-being, prudence dictates taking mitigating or preventative action.”(emphasis added)

USCCB

Global Climate Change:

A Plea for Dialogue, Prudence, and the Common Good

2001

CatholicClimateCovenant.org


Poverty

Poverty

“The effects of climate change—increasingly limited access to water, reduced crop yields, more widespread disease, increased frequency and intensity of natural disasters, and conflict over declining resources—are making the lives of the world’s poorest people even more precarious.”

USCCB & Catholic Relief Services

Catholics Confront Global Poverty

CatholicClimateCovenant.org


Poverty1

Poverty

“People living in poverty—both at home and abroad—contribute least to climate change but they are likely to suffer its worst consequences with few resources to adapt and respond.”

USCCB & Catholic Relief Services

Catholics Confront Global Poverty

“This great inequality between polluters and victims makes anthropogenic climate change into a fundamental problem of global justice.” (emphasis added)

The German Bishops

“Climate Change: A Focal Point of Global, Intergenerational and Ecological Justice- An Expert Report on the Challenge of Global Climate Change” (published in 2006, updated in 2007)

CatholicClimateCovenant.org


The common good

The Common Good

“[E]very person has a fundamental right to life and a right to those things required for human decency. Corresponding to these rights are duties and responsibilities--to one another, to our families, and to the larger society.”

USCCB

Seven Key Themes of Catholic Social Teaching

CatholicClimateCovenant.org


The common good1

The Common Good

“Global climate is by its very nature a part of the planetary commons. The earth's atmosphere encompasses all people, creatures, and habitats.”

“Responses to global climate change should reflect our interdependence and common responsibility for the future of our planet.”

USCCB

Global Climate Change:

A Plea for Dialogue, Prudence, and the Common Good

2001

CatholicClimateCovenant.org


The common good2

The Common Good

“A greater sense of intergenerational solidarity is urgently needed. Future generations cannot be saddled with the cost of our use of common environmental resources.”

Pope Benedict XVI

2010 World Day of Peace Message, No. 8

CatholicClimateCovenant.org


The common good3

The Common Good

  • “The Church has a responsibility towards creation and she must assert this responsibility in the public sphere.” (emphasis in original)

    Pope Benedict XVI

    Papal encyclical Caritas in Veritate

    No. 51 (2009)

  • “In a word, concern for the environment calls for a broad global vision of the world; a responsible common effort to move beyond approaches based on selfish nationalistic interests towards a vision constantly open to the needs of all peoples.”

    Pope Benedict XVI

    2010 World Day of Peace Message, No. 11


The common good4

The Common Good

  • “As the U.S. Congress considers climate legislation, Catholics Confront Global Poverty invites Catholics to advocate for policies that reduce the impact of climate change on people living in poverty. Well-designed climate change policies can help both reduce the severity of climate change and protect the most vulnerable by:

    • “[A]ssist poor and adversely affected communities in adapting to and easing the effects of global climate change . . .

    • “[E]nsure that the most useful technology is promptly made available to people in the most vulnerable developing countries . . . ” (adaptation & mitigation)

    • “[P]romote the participation of local communities in programs for adapting to climate change and easing its effects.”

      USCCB & Catholic Relief Services

      Catholics Confront Global Poverty


The common good5

The Common Good

  • “I wish to reflect today upon the relationship between the Creator and ourselves as guardians of his creation. In so doing I also wish to offer my support to leaders of governments and international agencies who soon will meet at the United Nations to discuss the urgent issue of climate change.”

    Pope Benedict XVI

    Message to UN Climate Change Conference 2009


The common good6

The Common Good

  • “For this reason I share the growing concern caused by economic and political resistance to combatting the degradation of the environment. This problem was evident even recently, during the XV Session of the Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change held in Copenhagen from 7 to 18 December last.

  • “I trust that in the course of this year, first in Bonn and later in Mexico City, it will be possible to reach an agreement for effectively dealing with this question. The issue is all the more important in that the very future of some nations is at stake, particularly some island states.”

    Pope Benedict XVI

    2010 Message to the Diplomatic Corps


Pope benedict xvi2

Pope Benedict XVI

  • “The environment is God's gift to everyone, and in our use of it we have a responsibility towards the poor, towards future generations and towards humanity as a whole.”

    Encyclical letter Caritas in Veritate, No. 48

    2009

  • “Preservation of the environment, promotion of sustainable development and particular attention to climate change are matters of grave concern for the entire human family.”

    Letter of His Holiness Benedict XVI to the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople on the Occasion of the Seventh Symposium of the Religion, Science and the Environment Movement (2007)


Video

Video

CatholicClimateCovenant.org


The catholic climate covenant

The Catholic Climate Covenant

  • Individual, family, school, parish, arch/diocese

  • 25+ Catholic Partners

  • The St. Francis Pledge to Care for Creation and the Poor

CatholicClimateCovenant.org


The st francis pledge to care for creation and the poor

The St. Francis Pledge to Care for Creation and the Poor

  • PRAY & reflect about our duty to Creation and the poor

  • LEARN about Catholic teaching and climate change and educate others

  • ASSESS our contributions to the problem

  • ACT to change behaviors and choices

  • ADVOCATE on behalf of those without a voice

CatholicClimateCovenant.org


The st francis pledge to care for creation and the poor1

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)

USCCB Dept. of Justice, Peace and Human Development

USCCB Dept. of Migration and Refugee Services

Catholic Relief Services

Catholic Charities USA

Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities

National Catholic Rural Life Conference

Catholic Health Association of the U.S.A.

National Council of Catholic Women

Conference of Major Superiors of Men

Leadership Conference of Women Religious

Carmelite NGO

Franciscan Action Network

National Catholic Education Association

Resource Center for Religious Institutes

The Jesuit Conference

The Roundtable Association of Diocesan Social Action Directors

National Association for Lay Ministry

National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry

Catholic Campus Ministry Association

National Federation of Priests Councils

National Diaconate Institute for Continuing Education

National Organization for Continuing Education of Roman Catholic Clergy

U.S. Catholic Mission Association

Africa Faith and Justice Network

Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach

Woodstock Theological Center

National Catholic Development Conference

National Conference for Catechetical Leadership

Archdiocese of Los Angeles

The St. Francis Pledge to Care for Creation and the Poor


Polling shows progress

Polling Shows Progress

Zogby International Poll: 1,000 Catholics, March/April 2009

CatholicClimateCovenant.org


Polling shows progress1

Polling Shows Progress

Zogby International Poll: 1,000 Catholics, March/April 2009

CatholicClimateCovenant.org


What others are doing

What Others Are Doing

Ambrosio Family: Little Falls, NJ

- Replaced gas mower with push mower

- Brita water instead of bottled

- Clothes line instead of dryer

- Lights and computers off when not needed

- Installed geothermal: carbon footprint down 70%

CatholicClimateCovenant.org


What others are doing1

What Others Are Doing

John the Evangelist Kindergarten: Naples, FL

- Gave copy of St. Francis Pledge to all students and students wrote own pledges

- Discussed “Who’s Under Your Carbon Footprint” Video

- Gathered litter around the school as a service project

CatholicClimateCovenant.org


What others are doing2

What Others Are Doing

St. Clement: Lancaster, WI

- 93% efficient boilers

- Insulated 18,000ft2 attic

- 20% of costs covered with energy grant

St. William: Louisville, KY

- Solar Panels produce 30% of electrical needs

St. Matthias : Redwood City, CA

- Focus group on city’s Climate Action Plan

- 100 Mile Potluck

CatholicClimateCovenant.org


What others are doing3

What Others Are Doing

  • Nativity Church of Fargo: Fargo, ND

    • Promoted the St. Francis Pledge on its website and advocated for commitments around the Feast of St. Francis (October 4)


What others are doing4

What Others Are Doing

  • Nativity Church of Fargo: Fargo, ND

    • Promoted the St. Francis Pledge on its website and advocated for commitments around the Feast of St. Francis (October 4)

  • St. Mary of the Assumption Parish: Whittier, CA

    • Organized a special observance of the Feast of St. Francis (October 4) by encouraging parishioners to take the St. Francis Pledge

    • More than 100 parishioners took the Pledge

    • See Resources page

      (http://catholicclimatecovenant.org/resources)

      for promotional materials, parish sign up sheets and more

Courtesy of Sr. Marjorie Guingona


What others are doing5

What Others Are Doing

  • Archdiocese of Los Angeles

  • “In his letter, Cardinal Mahony asked parishioners to take the St. Francis Pledge, which urges Catholics to pray, learn, assess, act and advocate for the poor and vulnerable around the world by contributing to ‘climate change by our own energy use, consumption, waste, et cetera.’”

http://www.the-tidings.com/2010/100110/sustainability.htm

CatholicClimateCovenant.org


Available resources

Available Resources

Immaculate Heart of Mary Sisters, Monroe, MI: This Is Your Home

New Jersey Catholic Coalition for Environmental Justice (NJCCEJ)

St. Francis Pledge Packet: Archdiocese of Hartford

CatholicClimateCovenant.org


Available resources1

Available Resources

USCCB & Catholic Relief Services: Catholics Confront Global Poverty

National Catholic Rural Life Conference: Global Climate Change Response Study Guide

JustFaith: God’s Creation Cries for Justice Climate Change: Impact and Response

CatholicClimateCovenant.org


Available resources2

Available Resources

Franciscan Action Network: C4C

National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry: Catholic Youth: Care for Creaiton and the Poor (http://climate.nfcym.org)

Catholic Coalition on Climate Change & Center for Ministry Development: Five Session Youth Lesson Plan (April, 2011)

CatholicClimateCovenant.org


What you can do

What You Can Do

Join others by taking the St. Francis Pledge and registering your commitment athttp://CatholicClimateCovenant.org

See How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint athttp://CatholicClimateCovenant.org/resources/taking-personal-action/

Encourage others (family, parish, school, arch/diocese) and promote the St. Francis Pledge (see Planning Guide for Promoting & Taking the St. Francis Pledge athttp://CatholicClimateCovenant.org/resources)

CatholicClimateCovenant.org


What you can do1

What You Can Do

Sign up to receive weekly Coalition emails athttp://CatholicClimateCovenant.org

Connect on social networks:

- Facebook:http://www.facebook.com/catholicclimatecovenant

- Twitter: @CatholicClimate

- MySpace: Catholic Climate Covenant

Call or write the Catholic Coalition on Climate Change:

- (301) 920-1442

- [email protected]

CatholicClimateCovenant.org


Caring for god s creation in the 21 st century

CatholicClimateCovenant.org


Caring for god s creation in the 21 st century

CatholicClimateCovenant.org


Caring for god s creation in the 21 st century

CatholicClimateCovenant.org


Caring for god s creation in the 21 st century

CatholicClimateCovenant.org


Caring for god s creation in the 21 st century

CatholicClimateCovenant.org


Caring for god s creation in the 21 st century

CatholicClimateCovenant.org


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