Faith Leaders Speak Out Against Fracking Amid Pope Francis' Visit to U.S.
Earlier this year, Pope Francis called for decisive climate action in his encyclical. Now, while the Pope is visiting the U.S. for the first time, faith leaders across the country are speaking out against fracking—a form of extreme fossil fuel extraction that hurts our health and communities, contributes to climate change, and will prolong our dependence on oil and gas at the expense of the development of truly renewable energy.
Today, Food & Water Watch is previewing a Faith Against Fracking video with messages from faith leaders of various denominations from across the country, as the Pope addresses Congress on the Hill, and as activists call for moral action for climate justice on the mall outside the Capitol.
We can’t miss this historic opportunity to highlight the moral issues around climate change—and fracking. And the faith leaders in the video are doing just that:
- “This is the time when all of us are being called to create a perfect world. We are all called in conscience to look to our higher self—our God image—and see the responsibility that we have.” —Lupe Anguiano, Former Nun & Founder, Stewards of the Earth
- “The Pope has given us a wonderful gift in this Encyclical. We can see within his words the values that all people of faith can share of caring for God’s creation.” —Dr. Leah Schade, Pastor, United in Christ Lutheran Church
- “Pope Francis says that care for creation is not a domain of a few people. ‘Those people in the environmental movement, let them take care of it.’ No, it’s our responsibility because it is our common home, and all of those in this country have the moral responsibility to get involved.” —Fr. Jacek Orzechowski, Franciscan Friar, Ordo Fratrum Minorum
- “This is what is unethical. We are doing things for money that we know are wrong.” —Rev. Dr. Ambrose Carroll, Senior Pastor, Church by the Side of the Road
- “A world that values economics above human health is a world that we don’t need because ultimately it’s a detriment to all of us. It’s like creating our own cancer. If we don’t have our health, what difference does economics make?” —Rev. Dr. Hubert Ivery, Pastor, St. Mark’s United Methodist Church
- “We all hear the conversation about being energy independent. Energy independence doesn’t mean giving all our power to the oil industry to do whatever the heck they want with our communities. If they really want to be energy independent, they should be focusing on renewable energy, green energy. Energy that is not only going to benefit the pockets of the industry, but that is going to benefit the health of our communities.” —Juan Flores, Former Seminarian and Community Organizer, CRPE
The video also includes Rev. Joy Atkinson, Minister of Starr King Unitarian Universalist Church; Rabbi Michael Lerner, Chair, Network of Spiritual Progressives; Anne Marie Sayers and Kanyon Sayers Roods, Indian Country, Coastal Ohlone; and Rev. Kelvin Sauls, Holman United Methodist Church.
Communities of faith are increasingly rallying around the call to abandon fossil fuels and work for renewable energy. Last weekend, Pennsylvania faith leaders sent an open letter to Governor Tom Wolf asking him to stop fracking the Keystone State. Yesterday, the Pope addressed the public on the White House lawn, where he invoked Martin Luther King Jr.’s words to urge climate action: “To use a telling phrase of the Rev. Martin Luther King, we can say that we have defaulted on a promissory note and now is the time to honor it.”
A good first step is to show this video into your communities of faith, and help create momentum to stop fracking where you live and to work for a renewable energy future. It will take all of us getting involved to pressure our elected officials to enact policies that will bring about renewable energy solutions—and save our planet and its people in the process.
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By Jeff Masters, Ph.D.
Tropical Storm Josephine Also No Threat to Land<p>Meanwhile, the season's record-earliest tenth named storm, Tropical Storm Josephine, was also struggling with high wind shear as it traced out a path over the open ocean.</p><p>At 5 a.m. EDT Saturday, Josephine was located about 310 miles east of the northern Leeward Islands, moving west-northwest at 15 mph with top sustained winds at 45 mph. Josephine is expected to bring one to three inches of rain over portions of the northern Leeward Islands, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico over the weekend. Josephine will encounter steadily rising wind shear through Monday, peaking at a very high 30 – 35 knots. This high shear is likely to destroy Josephine's circulation by Monday, before the storm can affect any other land areas.</p><p><em>Reposted with permission from <a href="https://yaleclimateconnections.org/2020/08/tropical-storm-kyle-forms-unlikely-to-affect-land/" target="_blank">Yale Climate Connections</a>. </em><em></em></p>
By Ute Eberle
In May 2017, shells started washing up along the Ligurian coast in Italy. They were small and purple and belonged to a snail called Janthina pallida that is rarely seen on land. But the snails kept coming — so many that entire stretches of the beach turned pastel.
The Ligurian coast has been swept by snails turning its color pastel.
A World Between Worlds<p>The neuston comprises a multitude of weird and wonderful creatures. </p><p>Many, like the Portuguese man-of-war, which paralyzes its prey with venomous tentacles up to 30 meters long, are colored an electric shade of blue, possibly to protect themselves against the sun's UV rays, or as camouflages against predators.</p><p>There are also by-the-wind sailors, flattish creatures that raise chitin shields from the water like sails; slugs known as sea dragons that cling to the water's surface from below with webbed appendages; barnacles that build bubble rafts as big as dinner plates; and the world's only marine insects, a relation of the pond skater.</p><p>They live "between the worlds" of the sea and sky, as Federico Betti, a marine biologist at the University of Genoa, puts it. From below, predators lurk. From above, the sun burns. Winds and waves toss them about. Depending on the weather, their environment may be warm or cool, salty or less so.</p>
Sea snails can make up the neuston.
Velella velella jellyfish living on the surface of the ocean.<p>But now, they face another — manmade — threat from nets designed to catch trash. A project called <a href="https://theoceancleanup.com/" target="_blank">The Ocean Cleanup</a>, run by Dutch inventor Boyan Slat, has raised millions of dollars in donations and sponsorship to deploy long barriers with nets that will drift across the ocean in open loops to sweep up floating garbage. </p>
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Waste collection in the Pacific Ocean heralded by The Ocean Cleanup.<p>The Ocean Cleanup says Helm's concerns are based on "misguided assumptions."</p><p>"It's true that neustonic organisms will be trapped in the barriers," says Gerhard Herndl, professor of Aquatic Biology at the University of Vienna and one of project's scientific advisors. "But these organisms have dangerous lives. They're adapted to high losses because they get washed ashore in storms and they have high reproductive rates. If they didn't, they'd already be extinct."</p><p>Helm says they just don't know how quickly these creatures reproduce, and in any case recovering from passing storm is very different from surviving The Ocean Clean Up's systems which could be in place for years.</p>
Communication Breakdown<p>The Ocean Cleanup invited Helm to a symposium on the topic in December, where both sides presented their points of views and didn't seem to find much common ground. Since then, direct communication between them has stopped, says Helm. "They're not interested in talking to me anymore."</p><p>Both sides agree that much is still unknown about the neuston. But one thing that has been established is that most of the oceans' fish spend part of their lifecycle in the neuston. "More than 90% of marine fish species produce floating eggs that persist on the surface until hatching," Betti says.</p><p>The Ocean Cleanup has undertaken one of the few studies into this ecosystem, collecting data on the neuston on the relative abundance of neuston and floating plastic debris in the eastern North Pacific Ocean during a 2019 expedition to the Pacific Garbage Patch, an area where plastic pollution has accumulated on a vast scale. But it is not yet sharing what it has found. The information was being prepared for publication in an as of yet unspecified journal, probably some time next year, an Ocean Cleanup spokesperson said. </p>
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