by Deirdre Fulton, staff writer
“‘We may have won a battle, but we’re still fighting a bigger war,’ says 14-year-old petitioner.”
Citing what she called the “historical lack of political will to respond adequately to the urgent and dire acceleration of global warming,” a judge in Washington state handed a group of eight young petitioners a landmark win this week, ordering the Department of Ecology (ECY) to consider statewide reductions in carbon dioxide emissions based on best available science.
“The effect of this decision is that for the first time in the United States, a court of law has ordered a state agency to consider the most current and best available climate science when deciding to regulate carbon dioxide emissions,” said Andrea Rodgers of the Western Environmental Law Center, attorney for the youth petitioners, who are in elementary, middle, and high school.
“I’m not going to sit by and watch my government do nothing. We don’t have time to waste. I’m pushing my government to take real action on climate, and I won’t stop until change is made.” —Zoe Foster, 13
The kids acted with the help of a NASA climate scientist as well as Our Children’s Trust, an Oregon-based nonprofit orchestrating a global, youth-driven legal campaign to establish the right to a healthy atmosphere and stable climate.
“This is a decision of immense national significance,” said Julia Olson, executive director of Our Children’s Trust, which has similar cases going around the country. “Judge Hill acknowledges the urgent and dire acceleration of global warming, refuses to accept any more bureaucratic delay, and mandates that the State consider and act in just two weeks time on the youth’s scientific evidence that atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide must be reduced to 350 [parts per million].”
Recently three Christian Peacemaker Team members of the Iraqi Kurdistan team took the Children’s Art and Peace Project to the students of Kobani School in Sulaimani.
The children were refugees from Syria. Their cheerful faces belied any suffering that they had endured. Several were wearing school uniforms they may have worn when they were students in Syria. They eagerly participated in the program, in many ways demonstrating the resilience of children.
Wanting to show that working together is enriching, we told them that we came from different countries, with the same dream. One of us is from Poland, another from Canada and the third from the USA. We are a peace team, involved in working for peace in spite of our own government’s decisions regarding solutions to the violence. People around the world are joining hands, seeking peace, dreaming of what a world of peace would look like. Then, ready to have them share their dreams, we asked them, “What does peace look like?” Continue reading Iraqi Kurdistan: Peace through the eyes of Syrian children→
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This document highlights elements of Laudato Si’, or Praised Be, Pope Francis’ encyclical letter on ecology. Following are excerpts from the encyclical, arranged by topic. Citations are included for your reference.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Policy and Political Leadership
Reality of the Problem and Necessity to Act
Your Action Matters
Acting More Sustainably
The Faith Perspective
Ecology and Social Justice
The earth herself, burdened and laid waste, is among the most abandoned and maltreated of our poor. (2)
The earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth. (21)
Never have we so hurt and mistreated our common home as we have in the last two hundred years. (53)
Doomsday predictions can no longer be met with irony or disdain. We may well be leaving to coming generations debris, desolation and filth. The pace of consumption, waste and environmental change has so stretched the planet’s capacity that our contemporary lifestyle, unsustainable as it is, can only precipitate catastrophes, such as those which even now periodically occur in different areas of the world. (161) Continue reading A list of quotations from the encyclical arranged by subject→
This text is a useful guide for an initial reading of the Encyclical. It will help you to grasp the overall development and identify the basic themes. The first two pages are an overview of Laudato si’ (literally “Be praised” or better, “Praise be to you”). Then for each of the six chapters, there is a one-page summary that gives the argument or main points and some key passages. The numbers in parentheses refer to the paragraphs in the Encyclical. The last two pages are the table of contents.
“What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up?” (160). This question is at the heart of Laudato si’ (Praise be to you), the new Encyclical on the care of the common home by Pope Francis. “This question does not have to do with the environment alone and in isolation; the issue cannot be approached piecemeal.” This leads us to ask ourselves about the meaning of existence and its values at the basis of social life: “What is the purpose of our life in this world? What is the goal of our work and all our efforts? What need does the earth have of us?” “Unless we struggle with these deeper issues – says the Pope – I do not believe that our concern for ecology will produce significant results” (160). Continue reading A guide to Laudato Si’→
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Appealing to the entire world, Pope Francis urged everyone to read his upcoming encyclical on the care of creation and to better protect a damaged earth. “This common ‘home’ is being ruined and that harms everyone, especially the poorest,” he said June 17, the day before the Vatican was releasing his encyclical letter, “Laudato Si’, on Care for Our Common Home.” He said he was launching an appeal for people to recognize their “responsibility, based on the task that God gave human beings in creation: ‘to cultivate and care for’ the ‘garden’ in which he settled us. I invite everyone to receive this document with an open heart,” he said at the end of his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square. Pope Francis said the encyclical is part of the church’s social teaching; the social doctrine of the church takes Gospel principles and applies them to concrete situations in society and public life. The encyclical’s title, which translates into “Praised be,” comes from the introductory phrase to eight verses of St. Francis of Assisi’s “Canticle of the Creatures,” a prayer thanking God for the gifts of creation.
The right to food, the problem of waste, the impact of the market on hunger, the primacy of agricultural development, water issues, land grabbing, and dependence on external aid were the central themes of the address given by Pope Francis to the 450 participants at the 39th Conference of the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization), whom he received in audience in the Clementine Hall on Thursday. Continue reading Pope Francis speaks on right of all to food→