Climate change

Mick Pope 11-17-2017

Christians often want to be good Samaritans in dealing with the symptoms of sinful systems. So we lobby for asylum seekers to be allowed into the country and we advocate for tackling climate change. The two are not unrelated — climate change can be a driver of significant migration. Consider the Carteret Islanders, who are now abandoning their homes as the rising seas swallow their islands, and seeking a new life on Papua New Guinea. And some researchers have even suggested that climate change was a factor in the Syrian crisis, as a six-year drought drove up food prices and forced people into poverty.

Image via Shutterstock

The "we are still in" coalition opened a 2,500-square meter (27,000-square foot) tent pavilion outside a venue in Bonn, Germany, where delegates from almost 200 nations are working on details of the pact aimed at ending the fossil fuel era by 2100.

By contrast, the U.S. government delegation office at the talks covers only 100 square meters.

the Web Editors 11-07-2017

Image via Michael Vadon / Flickr

Syria announced plans to sign the Paris climate accord on Nov. 7, according to The New York Times. With Nicaragua signing the Paris Agreement in October, it leaves the U.S. as the only country to oppose the accord. 

the Web Editors 11-03-2017

Image via Shutterstock

The findings directly contradict the Trump administration's policies on climate change. The Environmental Protection Agency has removed mentions of climate change from their website, with administrator Scott Pruitt denying that carbon dioxide is a primary contributor to global warming. "It begs the question, where are members of the administration getting their information from? They’re obviously not getting it from their own scientists," Philip B. Duffy, president of the Woods Hole Research Center, said.

Bill McKibben 10-30-2017

ONE OF THE conceits of modern life is that it’s always going to work out, always going to be okay. Indeed, it’s going to be better than it ever was. But the world is testing that idea.

When Hurricane Maria slammed into Puerto Rico—its buzz-saw eye ripping from one end of the island to the other—it changed almost everything in the course of a few hours. Gone were airports and roads. Eighty percent of the island’s crops were destroyed—think of that. Almost all the cell towers: There were profound images of groups of people standing in fields where the few remaining transponders would catch a signal, desperately trying to phone friends and family. Electricity was suddenly a thing of the past, and in places likely to stay that way for six months or a year. And when you lose electricity—well, there goes AC, not to mention ice. The concept of cold disappears for a while. Modernity retreats.

 

Beth Norcross 10-27-2017

WHILE OPENING a star-studded concert for victims of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, musician Stevie Wonder remarked: “Anyone who believes that there’s no such thing as global warming must be blind.”

These two major hurricanes had just ravaged Texas, Florida, and much of the Caribbean. While scientists are cautious about ascribing causation to any individual storm, they do not hesitate to say that warming waters and altered weather patterns due to climate change will cause many more such destructive events in the future.

As we watched the horrific scenes on our television screens, one thing was clear—the most vulnerable suffer the most.

Michael Mershon 10-13-2017

When progress we have worked so hard to achieve is being reversed, we must work to strengthen the partnerships between and among the faith community, communities of color, the environmental policy community, and the grassroots climate justice movement. We need to rebuild, inspire, and resource an American majority that recognizes the reality of climate change and seeks to stop it. The environmental movement must be more open to climate justice concerns and faith perspectives. Faith communities of color must be mobilized to view combatting climate change and building resiliency to climate change effects as central to their missions. And the resolve of sympathetic white evangelicals and Catholics — especially young people — who support action on climate change must be strengthened.

Image via Shutterstock.com/Parilov

We pray for others far away

Who’ve seen destruction, too;

We look beyond ourselves, for they

Are also loved by you.

Kermit Hovey 9-25-2017

Image via DarwelShots / Shutterstock.com
 

In my experience, Democrats in Congress see the iceberg and want to steer away while Republicans, with mercifully increasing exceptions, don't. Congressional offices tend to fall into three categories: climate affirmative, climate dismissive, and climate indifferent.

Alaura Carter 9-20-2017

Rescue workers pray before walking out from the Emergency Operation Centre after the area was hit by Hurricane Maria in Guayama, Puerto Rico September 20, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

As creation cries out to us, let us listen, let us learn, 
let us open our hearts to those devastated by the storms
and open our minds to care for creation. 

Rescuers work at the site of a collapsed building after an earthquake in Mexico City, Mexico Sept. 20, 2017. REUTERS/Henry Romero
 

Desperate rescue workers scrabbled through rubble in a floodlit search on Wednesday for dozens of children feared buried beneath a Mexico City school, one of hundreds of buildings wrecked by the country's most lethal earthquake in a generation.

The logo of Exxon Mobil Corporation is shown on a monitor above the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York, December 30, 2015. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File Photo

Supran and Oreskes said that while, as early as 1979, Exxon scientists acknowledged burning fossil fuels was adding more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere and causing global temperatures to rise, the company's position in newspaper ads remained significantly different by consistently asserting doubt about climate science.

Americans think of the U.S. as being a classless society. Piketty points out that our country invented progressive taxation of income and of large estates, to avoid the inequalities rife in a patrimonial society like “Old Europe.”

the Web Editors 7-14-2017

1. The Survival of a Southern Baptist Who Dared to Oppose Trump
CNN profiles Russell Moore, Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty lead, and chronicles his past couple of years from staunch opposition to Trump, to nearly losing his job amid evangelical backlash, to ensuring denominational condemnation of the alt-right, and finally, to finding himself back in the good graces of denominational leadership.

2. Clergy Arrested Outside McConnell’s Office While Protesting Health Care Bill
Rev. William Barber II was among those arrested.

3. What Keeps Bike Share So White?
It’s not a lack of interest.

A mountain is reflected in a bay that used to be covered by the Sheldon glacier on the Antarctic peninsula, January 14, 2009. REUTERS/Alister Doyle
 

One of the biggest icebergs on record has broken away from Antarctica, scientists said on Wednesday, creating an extra hazard for ships around the continent as it breaks up. The 1 trillion ton iceberg, measuring 5,800 square km, calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica sometime between July 10 and 12, said scientists at the University of Swansea and the British Antarctic Survey.

The Editors 7-07-2017
Tuxedos on Ice

Need a cold distraction from summer heat? Love penguins? Want to be inspired by rugged scenery and a field biologist’s enthusiasm for his work, despite harsh conditions, endless counting, and climate change? The documentary film The Penguin Counters is now out on iTunes and DVD. First Run Features

Find What’s Missing

In the picture book Who Counts? 100 Sheep, 10 Coins, and 2 Sons, biblical scholar Amy-Jill Levine and children’s book author Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso imaginatively retell three of Jesus’ parables. Suitable for kids 4 to 8. Includes afterword for parents and teachers. Illustrated by Margaux Meganck. Westminster John Knox

An American Story

Amir Hussain’s Muslims and the Making of America is a compact overview of how Muslims have been an intrinsic part of American society, politics, and culture since the colonial era. Released last fall, but timelier than ever as anti-Muslim rhetoric and actions grow. Baylor University Press

Not Alone

In Grieving a Suicide: A Loved One’s Search for Comfort, Answers, and Hope , Albert Y. Hsu explores the hard emotional and spiritual questions survivors face. First published in 2002, this newly revised and expanded version includes updated resources and a discussion guide for suicide-survivor groups. IVP Books

The Editors 7-05-2017
Pricing Carbon Fuels

Thank you for your fine article on climate change (“Shattering the Silence on Climate Change” by Teresa Myers, Connie Roser-Renouf, and Edward Maibach, May 2017). There is no larger long-term challenge facing humankind. The mention of Citizen’s Climate Lobby deserves expansion. This grassroots, nonpartisan, national group has a very workable, market-friendly proposal to help us move forward: enacting a steadily rising federal fee on all carbon-based fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas). The net revenues from this fee would be returned on an equal per capita basis to all legal U.S. residents. Such a fee would correct a failure of the market to properly price the environmental and social costs associated with use of these resources. It would have a positive impact on economic growth, would favor a transition to nonpolluting energy resources, and would be fair to low-income residents.

Kenneth Piers
Grand Rapids, Michigan

The Pride of Milwaukee

One of the names in Lisa Sharon Harper’s “Find the Cost of Freedom” (May 2017) was instantly familiar to me: James Cameron, the only young man “spared” from lynching, by imprisonment. I only wish Harper could have gone further in highlighting Cameron’s life. Having lived most of my life in the Milwaukee metro area, I have heard so much about Cameron—an extremely studious man and founder of the Black Holocaust Museum, a one-of-a-kind exhibition. Cameron was an exemplary man. He should be much more well-known than he is, and for much more than that he escaped a lynching. He was (and still is, as his heritage lives on) a very important man for Milwaukee residents.

Lynne Gonzales
Pewaukee, Wisconsin

Heartless Housing Policy

I was very happy to read the recent article “Raise Your Hand if You Live in Subsidized Housing,” by Neeraj Mehta (June 2017). It helps to uncover how we “allocate resources to people we value” and shows the inequality of how we subsidize housing in America. From my work with Hearts for Homes in Macomb County, Mich., it is clear to me that negative biases and stereotypes of low-income renters justify inaction on the part of policy makers and middle-class Americans. With the numbers of homeless children on the rise, at a time when employment is the highest since 2001, we still easily blame the poor as “not being responsible” or “having bad spending habits.” However, we seem unable to acknowledge or take responsibility for a housing system that requires many families to pay more than half of their income in housing expenses, putting many at risk of homelessness.

Richard Cannon
Mt. Clemens, Michigan

Cone’s Cross

Reading Danny Duncan Collum’s piece on Reinhold Niebuhr (“The Niebuhr We Need,” April 2017) and viewing the new documentary by Martin Doblmeier sent me back to my own review of America’s cold war theologian (“Apologist of Power,” March 1987). I write to commend James Cone’s chapter on Niebuhr in The Cross and the Lynching Tree (Orbis, 2011). Cone argues that Niebuhr’s theology of the cross was so abstract that it never occurred to him to recognize the most obvious representation of the former in the latter. Though still faculty at Union Seminary, Cone was not interviewed for the film.

Bill Wylie-Kellermann
Detroit, Michigan

Your response here. Write to letters@sojo.net or Letters, Sojourners, 408 C Street NE, Washington, DC 20002. In-clude your name, city, and state. Letters may be edited.

the Web Editors 6-30-2017

1. Who Gets to Use Facebook's Rainbow 'Pride' Reaction?
“Is Facebook’s rollout of rainbow flags a case of algorithmic hypocrisy, user protection, or something else? Using their ability to detect people’s location and interests, the company's algorithms are choosing which people get the rainbow flag while hiding it from others.“

2. As Climate Changes, Southern States Will Suffer More Than Others
Maine may benefit from milder winters. Florida, by contrast, could face major losses, as deadly heat waves flare up in the summer and rising sea levels eat away at valuable coastal properties.

President Donald Trump announces his decision that the United States will withdraw from the landmark Paris Climate Agreement June 1. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

New York State's attorney general and 12 other top state law enforcement officials said on Friday they would mount a vigorous court challenge to any effort to roll back vehicle emission rules by the Trump administration. In March, President Donald Trump ordered a review of U.S. vehicle fuel-efficiency standards from 2022-2025 put in place by the Obama administration, saying they were too tough on the auto industry.

Image via Reuters/ Kevin Lamarque

Evangelicals, Worthen said, were trained “to see the Bible as a code book that, properly interpreted, could reveal the true meaning of current events no matter what the fancy scientists and political elites would tell you.”

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