Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change
Writing for The Huffington Post, Joanna Zelman reports on a new NASA study:
Good news: Evangelical Christians are stepping back up to overcome the climate crisis.
After months of careful preparation, a new national advocacy initiative called Young Evangelicals for Climate Action (Y.E.C.A.) has just gone live.
In seeking to live as Christ’s disciples, Y.E.C.A. has come to see the climate crisis not only as a pressing challenge to justice and freedom, but also as a profound threat to “the least of these” with whom Jesus identifies in Matthew 25. The early effects of climate change are already impacting many of our neighbors, both in the U.S. and around the world, and our time to act is running short.
For The Daily Beast, Mark Hertsgaard asks why parents aren't taking the potential effects of climate change on their children's lives more seriously:
"Beyond the distress and discomfort, the record-breaking heat raises a puzzling question for anyone who cares about the future of our young people. The laws of physics and chemistry—the fact that carbon dioxide remains in the atmosphere for decades after being emitted—mean that man-made global warming is just getting started on this planet. As a result, my Chiara and millions of other youth around the world are now fated to spend the rest of their lives coping with the hottest, most volatile climate in our civilization’s 10,000-year history. Think of them as Generation Hot.
Why, then, are so few parents taking action to try to protect their beloved children from this gathering catastrophe? And why has no one asked them to?"
Learn more here
Bill Nye the Science Guy may not be a real scientist, but he tells CNN's news anchor that he knows how to read a chart, and when you look at the data on climate change, journalistic objectivity shouldn't try to obscure the facts. Watch Nye respond to climate change skeptics and discuss the conditions that led to the Colorado wildfires. [via CNN]
According to the Atlantic Cities, lawmakers in North Carolina have chosen to ignore studies that show sea levels are rising faster than previously expected in favor of developing new housing along the coast.
According to the rerport, state Rep. Pat McElraft, a not-scientist, said in a floor debate that the state should assume sea levels will rise at the same rate they have in the past: 8 inches over the past century.
From Kelly Henderson's Switchboard blog post:
"The scientific findings that North Carolina coasts will likely experience a 39-inch sea-level rise created quite a stir and were challenged by NC-20, a coastal economic development group, who cited flaws in the research. The group fears losing dollars if coastal planning begins now to prepare for the 39-inch rise since over 2,000 coastal miles will become restricted to development."
And, from Mr. Colbert, on N.C.'s logic in only considering historical data:
"If we consider only historical data, I've been alive my entire life. Therefore, I always will be."
Sandi Villarreal is Associate Web Editor for Sojourners. Follow her on Twitter @Sandi.
Sister Kathy Long turned toward my 13-year-old daughter and asked one question: “What will you tell your friends about spending this month in Mexico?”
In a public park in Cuernavaca, Mexico, we sat on a concrete bench next to six women who chatted and stitched embroidery patterns with brightly colored thread.
I glanced toward the sewing group, realizing that Maya would have rolled her eyes if I had asked her that same question. An intrusive query from a mother seemed compelling coming from a Catholic nun who worked in Mexico, promoted justice amid poverty, and even spent three months in jail for protesting the military training of Latin American leaders in the U.S.
“I will tell them that rich people and poor people are all people in the end,” Maya responded. “If you have three cars and two houses, you are a person just like someone whose house is made of cardboard or metal.”
The Atlantic profiles a new documnetary called Bangladesh: On The Frontlines of Climate Change:
Please don’t sweat the 2,132 new high temperature marks in June — remember, climate change is a hoax.
The first to figure this out was Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe, who in fact called it “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people,” apparently topping even the staged moon landing.
But others have been catching on. Speaker of the House John Boehner pointed out that the idea that carbon dioxide is “harmful to the environment is almost comical.” The always cautious Mitt Romney scoffed at any damage too: “Scientists will figure that out 10, 20, 50 years from now,” he said during the primaries.
Still, you have to admit: for a hoax, it’s got excellent production values.
The Colorado wildfires are raging this week. I’m in Denver, and the grey haze over the mountains in the distance gives me a sick feeling. Countless trees on hundreds of thousands of acres have gone up in smoke. Hundreds of homes have been destroyed. Even human lives have now been forever lost to the flames. It’s tragic, and it’s not over yet.
But here’s what I believe. One day, when these fires have been extinguished, this land will be restored. People will do whatever it takes to reforest these hills and rebuild their homes. In a few years, mountainsides that are charred and blackened today will be green again. We have the will and the resources to restore our environment when it has been destroyed.
Two weeks ago I was in Haiti. Unlike the deforestation that has happened in Colorado in a matter of days, Haiti’s 98-percent deforestation has happened over centuries. The destruction to Haiti’s natural environment is almost complete. Birds are rare. Small animals are almost gone. Fish that once teemed in the waters around the island are barely there.
It gets worse.
In the final part of its series on evangelicals and climate change, The Christian Post's Napp Nazworth writes:
"Global warming skeptics argue that while global warming activists say that reducing carbon dioxide emissions is necessary to protect the poor and vulnerable, the science is so iffy and the cost of control so high that money would be better spent on direct aid to the poor."
While I’d met President Richard Torgerson a couple of times before at alumni gatherings, I hadn’t had the opportunity to talk with him about the extensive sustainability efforts that the college has undergone during his tenure. And there have been a lot of such efforts to discuss. Nor had I been able to ask him about his experience as an entomologist. I was keen to find out if his love for bugs was inspired by a great professor, as mine was by Dr. Kirk Larsen in the biology department at Luther. It takes a special person, after all, to get others excited about God’s creepy crawly little creatures and to use that excitement to launch a lifelong commitment to environmental stewardship.
I spend most of my days studying the natural environment. From that perspective, the answer is clear: God has given us the freedom and the ability to make choices. These choices have consequences. And one of the consequences of building in fire-prone areas (and suppressing natural fire patterns in those same areas) is that when a fire comes, there is a lot to burn.
In most cases, these fires are the result of a perfect storm: lots of vegetation, low humidity, dry, hot and windy conditions, and a spark, usually from a human source. In a place where fire is common, like the western U.S., these conditions all come together naturally every few decades or so.
But fires are intimately related to temperature, humidity, and rainfall. So it makes sense to ask—is climate change making these fires worse? Do our energy choices, which include burning coal and gas and oil and increasing levels of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere, affect the risk of wildfire?
Climate change experts and skeptics can hash it out all they want, but Victor Mughogho is living it.
His home country of Malawi is already feeling the effects of climate change in real and devastating ways. Five droughts in the past 20 years, coupled with changing weather patterns, have resulted in famine — and a generation of children growing up developmentally stunted because of malnourishment.
From The Associated Press:
The world's air has reached what scientists call a troubling new milestone for carbon dioxide, the main global warming pollutant. Monitoring stations across the Arctic this spring are measuring more than 400 parts per million of the heat-trapping gas in the atmosphere.
Learn more here
While James Hansen's TED talk may be a few months old, his message continues to resonate as concerns around climate change grow worldwide.
The total energy imbalance now is about six-tenths of a watt per square meter. That may not sound like much, but when added up over the whole world, it's enormous. It's about 20 times greater than the rate of energy use by all of humanity. It's equivalent to exploding 400,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs per day 365 days per year. That's how much extra energy Earth is gaining each day. ~ James Hansen
Sacred the land,
Sacred the water,
Sacred the sky,
Holy and true,
Sacred all life,
Sacred each other,
All reflect God who is good.
– Franciscan Brother Rufino Zaragoza, OFM
Last Friday night was the first time I uttered this refrain. As I sang, I felt a sense of gratitude to know the significance of these words and to feel the conviction of knowing that I have a responsibility in protecting that which is sacred.
A lawsuit that comes to a head May 11 could set a trajectory for how we legislate and mitigate against the devastating impacts of global climate change, Think Progress reports.
The suit, which has been dubbed a ‘David vs. Goliath battle,' sees a group of young adults taking on high-level government officials, states, energy companies and big businesses over their collective failure to adequately protect our planet for future generations.
There may be those in the public sphere who dismiss climate change as a ‘hoax’ — doing so is good politics in some spheres — but the people of the small island nation of Kiribati do not have the luxury of debating whether climate change is real.
It is. And it's threatening the very existence of their nation.