A roundup of the news, views and ideas from the main stream press and the blogosphere.  Click on the headline link to see the full article.


The Guardian view on Laudato Si’: Pope Francis calls for a cultural revolution

Editorial, Guardian 
Pope Francis’s encyclical on climate change, Laudato Si’, is the most astonishing and perhaps the most ambitious papal document of the past 100 years, since it is addressed not just to Catholics, or Christians, but to everyone on earth. It sets out a programme for change that is rooted in human needs but it makes the radical claim that these needs are not primarily greedy and selfish ones.

We need nature, he says, and we need each other. Our need for mutuality, and for giving, is just as real as the selfish aspects of our characters; the need for awe and stillness in front of nature is just as profound as any other human need. The care of nature and the care of the poor are aspects of the same ethical commandment, and if we neglect either one we cannot find peace. The environment, in the pope’s use of the word, is not something out there: nature as opposed to the human world. The term describes the relationship between nature and humans, who are inextricably linked and part of each other. It is that relationship that must be set right.
(18 June 2015)


What you need to know about Pope Francis’s environmental encyclical

Christiana Z. Peppard, Washington Post 
… Fossil fuels are part of the point, but not all of it

Many commentators in the United States are tempted to equate the meaning of this document with the policy upshot — the pithy sound bite that takes a side in the bizarre partisan debacle of U.S. climate and fossil fuel policy.

Yes, Francis has some upshots regarding fossil fuels: Greenhouse gases have been emitted by industrialized nations (such as ours) at a disproportionate rate. Rates of consumption of non-renewable resources are profoundly imbalanced worldwide. Differentiated responsibilities between developing and super-developed nations (i.e., the United States) in any future climate agreements are both necessary and ethically appropriate.

The goods of the earth: Pollution, climate change, water

Laudato Si’ is, in Francis’ own words, a “lengthy reflection which has been both joyful and troubling” (246), structured in six movements or chapters.

Chapter one: “What is happening to our common home?” admits of several answers that sum up to this: we are degrading it, especially through pollution and climate change, deterioration and overuse of water, loss of biodiversity, and the breakdown of society through global inequality, among other signs.

The problems are both spiritual and structural. The rest of the encyclical unpacks those notions, in a dance of levels of scale between that ranges from the individual to the civic, national, regional, and planetary.
(18 June 2015)
Good summary. -BA


Pope Francis Aligns Himself With Mainstream Science on Climate

Justin Gillis, New York Times 
… amid all his soaring rhetoric, did the pope get the science right?

The short answer from climate and environmental scientists is that he did, at least to the degree possible in a religious document meant for a broad audience. If anything, they say, he may have bent over backward to offer a cautious interpretation of the scientific facts

… When reciting facts, as opposed to making judgments, the pope aligns himself squarely with mainstream scientific thinking. Indeed, those sections of the document could serve as a syllabus for Environmental Science 101 in just about any college classroom.

… When the pope transitions in his encyclical from fact to judgment, though, his language is less measured.

“The earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth,” Francis declares. “In many parts of the planet, the elderly lament that once beautiful landscapes are now covered with rubbish.”

(18 June 2015)
From Think Progress: What Did Actual Scientists Think Of The Pope’s Climate Encyclical?


Must-See Hilarious Spoof Trailer: ‘Pope Francis: The Encyclical’

Cole Mellinom Eciwtcg 
… this Hollywood-style spoof trailer of “Pope Francis: The Encyclical,” I knew it was going to be good. The video, which was posted yesterday by Observatório do Clima, a Brazil-based nonprofit advocating for action on climate change, is just as intense and dramatic as your standard Hollywood trailer. …


(12 June 2015)
Homage to Pope Francis and his coming Encyclical on the environment. Funny, but the underlying message is right on. -BA