Climate Change is Now Also a Moral Issue

by Duane Nichols on March 28, 2015

Mohandas K. Gandhi of India (1869 - 1948)

The Immorality of Climate Change Denial

By Laurie David, (SGW), March 26, 2015

This year, Pope Francis will issue an edict to the world’s Catholics to take action on climate change on moral and scientific grounds.

This week, the head of the Episcopal Church in the US said that climate change is as much a moral imperative as the civil rights movement, and that climate change denial is immoral because dismissing the best of scientific knowledge is “not using the gifts God has given you.”

Read Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori’s comments to The Guardian and check out her keynote address from last week’s Climate Change Crisis Forum.

The Warmest Winter on Record

If you live on the east coast, you might be forgiven for not realizing this was the warmest winter on record worldwide, as the Northeast U.S. was about the only region that experienced lower than average temperatures.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, during December – February, the average global temperature was 1.42°F (0.79°C) above the 20th century average. This was the highest for December–February since data records began in 1880.

For more on the recent data, visit the NOAA

Film and Book Recommendations

Inspired by the acclaimed book by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway, the new documentary film “Merchants of Doubt” lifts the curtain on a secretive group of pundits-for-hire who present themselves as scientific authorities – yet aim to spread maximum confusion about public threats such as climate change.

Watch the trailer, find a theater showing the film near you, and pick up a copy of the highly recommended book.

Here are some other great recent choices for your Spring Reading List, including books by SGW Marchers Elizabeth Kolbert and Jeffrey D. Sachs:

* The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, by Elizabeth Kolbert

* The Age of Sustainable Development, by Jeffrey D. Sachs

* This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate, by Naomi Klein

* Don’t Even Think About It: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Ignore Climate Change, by George Marshall

* Climate Shock: The Economic Consequences of a Hotter Planet, by Gernot Wagner and Martin L. Weitzman

Gina Murphy-Darling’s new book “Your Mother Called (Mother Earth) … You’d Better Call Her Back!”

Contact:  Laurie David at SGW,,


Four Things to Remember about the Pope’s Encyclical

Excerpts from an Essay by Robert P. George, First Things First, January 3, 2015

So here we are waiting for Pope Francis to hand down his encyclical on our moral responsibility to care for the natural environment. Already there is lots of huffing and puffing, and ideological battle lines are being drawn. Here are four points worth bearing in mind as we await the encyclical letter:

1. The Pope has the right and responsibility to teach and even bind the consciences of the faithful on the truth of proposed moral norms, including those norms pertaining to our obligations concerning the natural environment.

2. Pursuant to the norms set forth in Lumen Gentium and other relevant documents pertaining to the teaching authority of the magisterium, Catholics are bound to give religious assent to the norms formally proposed for such assent by the Holy Father. There is no area of morality in which the papal writ does not run. The Pope can speak authoritatively on questions of our moral responsibility to care for the natural environment, just as he can speak authoritatively on the obligation of truth-telling, the sanctity of human life, questions of marriage and sexual morality, matters of war, religious liberty, criminal punishment, and so forth.

3. The Pope has no special knowledge, insight, or teaching authority pertaining to matters of empirical fact of the sort investigated by, for example, physicists and biologists, nor do popes claim such knowledge, insight, or wisdom. Pope Francis does not know whether, or to what extent, the climate changes (in various directions) of the past several decades are anthropogenic — and God is not going to tell him. Nor does he know what their long term effects will be.

4. Although faithful Catholics are not bound by positions adopted by the Pope on such matters, they are bound by the moral norms he proposes for them to hold definitively. [A lengthy example is then given … ]

Robert P. George grew up in Morgantown, WV. He is the McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University.

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Interfaith Power & Light (3/17/15) March 31, 2015 at 10:55 am

Some 17 Anglican Bishops from all six continents have called for urgent prayer and action on the “unprecedented climate crisis

From the Interfaith Power & Light, March 17, 2015

Their Declaration, “The World Is Our Host: A Call to Urgent Action for Climate Justice” released on March 17th, sets a new agenda on climate change for the 85 million-strong Anglican Communion.

To read the full statement:


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