In what is being described as a “watershed moment,” a group of scientists have called on Pope Francis and the Roman Catholic Church to help combat global warming.
It sounds a rather bizarre relationship, doesn’t it? For centuries, the church and the scientific community have had what you might describe as something of a fragile and volatile relationship, but this could change as those who believe in a god and those who believe in an atom put aside their differences to unite and save the planet.
An essay in the journal <emScience argues that relying on politicians to combat global warming is not enough, and that engaging faith leaders could be just the spark required to ignite billions of people around the world into changing aspects of their lifestyles to prevent catastrophic climate change.
Pope Francis and the Roman Catholic Church are highlighted in the article because of the 1.2 billion-strong network of followers that the church boasts, though leaders from every faith are hoped to be recruited in the drive to tackle global warming head on.
The scientists believe that religion’s unique combination of moral leadership and global organizational structures would be key in having an instant effect on global warming, such as providing cleaner forms of fuel to the world’s poorest people.
The scientists’ plea to Pope Francis and other global faith leaders to address climate change couldn’t have come at a better time. Pope Francis is currently finalizing a much-anticipated papal encyclical on the environment, and the Catholic Church is expected to lead the charge to limit global warming.
The Telegraph reports that the article is co-authored by Prof Veerabhadran Ramanathan, a climate scientist at the University of California, San Diego, and Prof Sir Partha Dasgupta, an economist based at St. John’s College, Cambridge.
“Natural and social scientists have done their part in documenting the irreversible environmental damages (albeit with large uncertainties) that we have inflicted and in spelling out specific mitigation actions,” they write.
“The transformational step may very well be a massive mobilization of public opinion by the Vatican and other religions for collective action to safeguard the well-being of both humanity and the environment.
“The rise of market fundamentalism and the drive for growth in profits and gross domestic product (GDP) have encouraged behavior that is at odds with pursuit of the common good.
“Finding ways to develop a sustainable relationship with nature requires not only engagement of scientists and political leaders, but also moral leadership that religious institutions are in a position to offer.”
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