Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Becoming More Conscious of the Links between Natural and Human Ecology

Once again, the Bush Administration appears guilty of refusing to acknowledge scientific fact by interfering with and micromanaging the government's climate programs as well as controlling what government employed and funded scientists have been allowed to tell the public. The AP reports on Congressional hearings that show that "Federal scientists have been pressured by the White House to play down global warming".

This should cause each of us to shutter, especially from an Administration that adamantly opposes mandatory measures to reduce to green house emissions and that, despite the willingness of signatory nations to substantially renegotiate the provisions of the treaty that caused concern to U.S., also refuses to have anything to do with the Kyoto Protocol.

According to a leaked draft of a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as summarized by Lisa Merlini of Catholic Media Report: "Rising temperatures will leave millions more people hungry by 2080 and cause critical water shortages in China and Australia, as well as parts of Europe and the United States. . . By the end of the century . . . climate change will bring water scarcity to between 1.1 and 3.2 billion people as temperatures rise by 2 to 3 Celsius (3.6 to 4.8 Fahrenheit)."

Quoting number 38 of Pope John Paul II's 1991 encylical Centesimus Annus in his Message for the 2007 World Day of Peace, Pope Benedict XVI writes: "Not only has God given the earth to man, who must use it with respect for the original good purpose for which it was given to him, but man too is God's gift to man. He must therefore respect the natural and moral structure with which he has been endowed". Building on these words of his predecessor, with whom he collaborated closely, the Holy Father goes on to write: "Alongside the ecology of nature, there exists what can be called a 'human' ecology, which in turn demands a 'social' ecology. All this means that humanity, if it truly desires peace, must be increasingly conscious of the links between natural ecology, or respect for nature, and human ecology. Experience shows that disregard for the environment always harms human coexistence, and vice versa. It becomes more and more evident that there is an inseparable link between peace with creation and peace among men. Both of these presuppose peace with God. The poem-prayer of Saint Francis, known as 'the Canticle of Brother Sun', is a wonderful and ever timely example of this multifaceted ecology of peace." (Message of His Holiness Pope Benedict for the Celebration of the World Day of Peace, #8).

There are more encouraging signs of the Church's engagement on this issue that affects us all, as Rocco reports over on Whispers.

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