Thus we began the week of healing as the media broadcast Trump’s reality-show drama that cast the climate as some meaningless backdrop for second-rate actors. I passed the time between administering dosages of oxycodone by reading predictions of this staged Rose Garden event. As I read, I wondered: How soon will my daughter heal from this extraction? And what does it mean to extract the second-highest emitter of carbon emissions from an international agreement? And why are these two extractions — on such different scales — linked in my mind forever?
Social and economic inequities are not just personal attitudes — they are the result of structural problems prevalent in many sectors of society and government. In the face of this reality, the federal government can be a force for good, attempting to correct its own past complicity and working to prevent future discriminatory behavior by businesses, schools, contractors, local police departments, and more. But this administration’s disregard for civil rights in the federal agencies it administers leads to an inescapable conclusion.
The reported decision comes on the heels of a letter from 22 Republican senators to the president, urging him to withdraw from the major international agreement reached under President Obama in 2015. The deal, which aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions by significantly reducing participating nations’ reliance on fossil fuels, took effect shortly before the U.S. presidential election in November 2016. It was hailed as a significant achievement for Obama’s climate legacy.
The power of the order is found less in its immediate consequences, and more in its trajectory-setting results. While the world is slowly backing away from a crumbling cliff, this executive order represents a shift into drive to send the global climate hurtling toward the ledge.
The White House and Pruitt have proposed a budget for the EPA that would cut the agency’s budget by $2 billion and eliminate 20 percent of the workforce, including the entire Office of Environmental Justice. In his letter, Ali suggests the budget cuts will specifically harm those most in need of help, saying that the agency’s new leadership hasn't given "any indication that they are focused or interested in helping those vulnerable communities.”
After sessions on gravitational waves, nuclear forensics, and artificial intelligence, one of the world’s largest general science conferences invited attendees to hear from an Episcopal priest.
The Rev. Fletcher Harper preached on climate change, and how to get a vast segment of the world’s population to pay better attention to what scientists know but many others doubt: that the problem is worsening and portends disaster.
“My entreaty for scientists is to be able to speak publicly about why you care,” said Harper, executive director of GreenFaith, an interfaith nonprofit that aims to galvanize religious people to safeguard the environment.
On Feb. 17, by a 52-46 vote, the U.S. Senate confirmed Scott Pruitt as the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. Pruitt’s nomination by President Donald Trump to head the agency was decried by many as soon as it was announced, due to Pruitt’s history of opposition to the standards of the agency he now leads; Pruitt even sued the EPA 14 times.
If confirmed, Pruitt should walk into the halls of the Environmental Protection Agency with the same conviction of faith with which he walks into First Baptist Church of the Broken Arrow. He should promote policies to guard clean water and clean air, to protect children from pollution, and to safeguard all of us from the impacts of a changing climate.
I work for a science-based organization, and we are not alone in our opposition to Scott Pruitt as the potential new head of the Environmental Protection Agency. Joining us are labor and environmental groups, faith organizations, public interest groups, former state Environmental Protection Agency heads, and even the Humane Society.
Look, if the Humane Society has a beef with the potential next head of the EPA, maybe we should all worry a little.
After an eight-year-old girl from Flint, Mich. wrote to President Obama requesting a meeting, a White House official confirmed April 27 that Obama will visit the city on May 4, reports Mlive.
The city has faced a devastating water crisis after it was discovered that the city’s water supply was contaminated by lead. While in Flint, Obama will hear first-hand from residents, be briefed on efforts to address the crisis, and give a speech to residents.
While Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has admitted that mistakes have been made and takes full responsibility, the residents of Flint to this day have not found remedy. His initial action was to have city fire stations serve as bottled water and water filter distribution points. Michigan National Guard personnel provided water to residents there.
And the nation knows the crisis — high lead levels in children’s blood tests and a spike in Legionnaires disease.
Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts has rejected a plea to block an EPA air pollution rule. Despite the fact that the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 last year that the mercury and air toxics standards rule is illegal, Roberts unilaterally rejected twenty conservative states' request to block it, in a big win for the Obama administration.
From a zero-waste synagogue to global development work after natural disasters, environmental projects by faith leaders are being hailed by the Obama administration as examples of exemplary leadership on climate change.
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy highlighted initiatives by a dozen leaders from a range of faiths, who were recognized July 20 in Washington, D.C., as “Champions of Change” for their environmental initiatives.
“As faith leaders, no voice is really more important than yours in this,” said McCarthy.
The prophets’ preoccupation with justice and righteousness has its roots in a powerful awareness of injustice. That justice is a good thing, a fine goal, even a supreme ideal, is commonly accepted. What is lacking is a sense of the monstrosity of injustice. Moralists of all ages have been eloquent in singing the praises of virtue. The distinction of the prophets was in their remorseless unveiling of injustice and oppression, in their comprehension of social, political, and religious evils. —Abraham Joshua Heschel, The Prophets
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. —Martin Luther King, Jr.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, environmental justice is defined as:
The fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.
As we consider this definition, and look around our communities, do we find this fair treatment taking place? Are we aware of how economic and environmental decisions are made? Many times it can become so overwhelming that we think it best to leave it to the experts. Unfortunately, this can lead to exploitation, as discrimination typically takes place in poor and underserved communities where people may not understand their rights, or they choose not to fight back out of fear. As we dig deeper and the shackles are removed, we begin to see how economic and environmental justice are connected and how this exploitation is directly related to incentives like government funding, tax breaks, and land grabs that favor corporations over human beings and the environment. Does the end result benefit all God’s creation or just a wealthy few?
Evangelicals are teaming up with environmentalists to support the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan to substantially reduce carbon dioxide emissions from coal-burning power plants.
The Rev. Mitchell Hescox, president and CEO of the Evangelical Environmental Network, submitted comments from more than 100,000 “pro-life Christians” who he said are concerned about children’s health problems that are linked to unclean air and water.
“From acid rain to mercury to carbon, the coal utility industry has never acted as a good neighbor and cleaned up their mess on their own,” Hescox told reporters on Dec. 1. “Instead of acting for the benefit of our children’s lives, they’ve internalized their profits while our kids (have) borne the cost in their brains, lungs and lives.”
Despite recent findings that almost four in 10 evangelicals remain skeptical about climate change, Hescox said the comments he provided to the Environmental Protection Agency reflect a belief that “climate change is the greatest moral challenge of our time.”
1. Visualization: Casualities in the Israel-Palestine Conflict
Washington Post is keeping a regularly updated tally of the deaths in the current conflict. The stunning visualization paints a grim picture.
2. I Need Feminism Because…
A Tumblr using the hashtag #WomenAgainstFeminism made the Internet rounds last week. Sojourners' writer Catherine Woodiwiss offers her take: "In a perfect world, women can choose to be whomever they want. But there is not yet a country on earth in which that is actually true. That is why we need feminism."
3. Religious Conservatives Embrace Pollution Fight
From The New York Times:"This week’s hearings on the new E.P.A. rule gave [conservatives] an opportunity to make their argument that climate change hurts the world’s poor through natural disasters, droughts and rising sea levels, and that it is part of their faith to protect the planet."
4. Wife Beating Gets a Standing Ovation in Baltimore
"… the sheer gall it takes to celebrate fans’ adoration of a man who beat his fiancee and mostly got away with it indicates the larger problem: The NFL is too big to fail."
5. The New Face of Hunger
One-sixth of Americans don't have enough food to eat. This powerful photo essay chronicles the stories in three parts of the country. Click through the gallery for the moving images.
6. New Baby Doll Is Anatomically Correct, And Moms Are Freaking Out
"An outraged mom recently shared a photo of an anatomically correct baby doll on Facebook. I don't get it. When did it become taboo to talk about body parts with our kids?"
7. WATCH: What Would Happen if People in Poverty Received Tabloid Treatment?
A new campaign from a Canada-based service organization puts real people struggling with poverty in the place of the Kim Kardashians of the gossip-mag world. Check out the video and magazine mock-ups.
8. What's the Story of Your First Days in America?
From visiting McDonald's to questioning Southern hospitality, the fascinating series First Days documents immigrants' transition into the U.S.
9. Are You Too Proud of Your 'Natural' Lifestyle?
"While I certainly sympathize with concerns over chemicals and additives in our food, with the degradation of the environment, with the overprescribing of antibiotics and the soaring cesarean section rates, I’m keenly aware that many of the advances now freely scorned by those proudly adhering to ‘natural’ lifestyles are the very thing that make a flourishing, healthy life possible for so many people."
10. A Few Times Vandalism Did the World Some Good
While we're totally not advocating vandalism … the " … or Love the Neighbor as Thyself" response was pretty great. See all of these heroes-of-the-questionably-legal sort at the link.