This article was written by Cath Kestler, a Silver Creek resident. It is posted here with her permission.
Whether you believe in climate change or not, the time has come for all of us to take responsibility for what is happening to the world around us. We only have one planet; there are no ‘do overs’. Together we need to act to combat the human-driven climate change that surrounds us. The deniers need to hop on the train or get out of the way; climate change is real and it’s here—now.
There are really simple things you can do today to help—take public transit, carpool, planting trees, turning off unnecessary lights, recycling, and boycotting certain products. We need an “ecological conversion”.
According to Pope Francis’ encyclical he has linked global warming to the overarching theme of his papacy—fighting inequality and global poverty. “The Earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth,” Francis wrote, “blaming a toxic cocktail of overconsumption, consumerism, dependence on fossil fuels and the errant indifference of the powerful and wealthy.” He went on to describe a hell on Earth should nothing be done, one filled with methane and carbon dioxide, acidification of oceans and the crippling of the food supply.
For those of you who question the validity of the pope’s credentials in making such a broad statement; he holds a secondary school degree in chemistry and worked early on as a chemist, also he made an unprecedented papal dive into policy detail—for example, assessing carbon credits as unlikely to reduce “the overall emission of polluting gases.”
The pope is receiving worldwide accolades from heads of state across the globe. This all will culminate at an UN-backed talks seeking a platform for a global pact to combat climate change are scheduled to open in Paris on November 30th, 2015.
The German environment minister Barbara Hendricks hailed the document. “The encyclical is an incentive for all to take dedicated action for the protection of the environment and climate.” Germany is on point to the gradual dissolution of large coal power plants to meet their 2020 climate goal.
The encyclical was timed precisely to be released ahead of several major conferences in hopes of countries coming together for a broader global treaty on climate change. Pope Francis called for richer countries to help poorer countries adapt to the changes required to meet the needs to combat climate change.
The reaction’s to this document has a wide range of acceptance from over-the-top enthusiasm to very harsh dismissals from the fossil fuel contingency. In the encyclical, the pope wrote that climate change “represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day, its worse impact will probably be felt by developing countries in the coming decades.”
Bill McKibben, the influential environmental activist, co-founder of 350.org, and writer said the document (encyclical) showed that the pope was posting a bottom line: Environmental degradation is leading to climate change that is harming the poor.
“The people, who have done the least to cause this, suffer the most. That should, if nothing else, give weight to the argument that the Northern Hemisphere must shift serious resources to the poor world,” McKibben said.
A 1989 book written by McKibben called, The End of Nature is credited with the awakening of the grassroots climate movement. In that book, McKibben made a plea for Earth’s restoration; warning humans had become the ‘most powerful source for change on the planet.’
McKibben, a soft-spoken man, led the March for Jobs, Justice and Climate in Toronto yesterday. He was joined by Jane Fonda, Naomi Klein, David Suzuki, and musician Joel Plaskett; they marched through the downtown core of Toronto. Hundreds are expected to join the march; but if it turns out like his climate march in NYC 2014—hundreds of thousands showed up to join in. This shows the severity of the problem. Will you answer the call?