The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Pope Francis: 'Catastrophic' Climate if Paris Talks Fail
Pope Francis warned on Wednesday that the world is facing a "grave environmental crisis" and spoke of the intersection between social justice and the protection of nature.
The pontiff's comments, made in the Kenyan capital at the start of his first visit to the continent, come just days ahead of the UN climate summit in Paris, where global delegates will hammer out an agreement to curb climate change.
"The grave environmental crisis facing our world demands an ever greater sensitivity to the relationship between human beings and nature," Pope Francis said at the State House in Nairobi, where he spoke to President Uhuru Kenyatta and political leaders.
"We have a responsibility to pass on the beauty of nature in its integrity to future generations, and an obligation to exercise a just stewardship of the gifts we have received.
"In effect, there is a clear link between the protection of nature and the building of a just and equitable social order. There can be no renewal of our relationship with nature, without a renewal of humanity itself," he said, referencing his widely heralded encyclical.
"To the extent that our societies experience divisions, whether ethnic, religious or economic, all men and women of good will are called to work for reconciliation and peace, forgiveness and healing. In the work of building a sound democratic order, strengthening cohesion and integration, tolerance and respect for others, the pursuit of the common good must be a primary goal."
In addition to his stop in Kenya, Pope Francis' African trip will also include a stop in Uganda, but, the Washington Post reports, the focal point of his Africa trip appears to be the Central African Republic, where a war between Christians and Muslims has claimed more than 5,000 lives since 2013. The fighting there remains intense, and some security experts are surprised that Francis’s visit has not been canceled. It is the first time a pope has traveled to an active conflict zone.
There, Pope Francis is scheduled to meet with Muslims at the central Koudougou mosque in Bangui, the capital. Driving through the city, he is likely to see some of the thousands who have been displaced by the most recent spasm of violence.
Underscoring Francis' statement in his encyclical that there is "an urgent need to develop policies" to slash carbon emissions, the UN weather agency on Wednesday delivered "bad news for the planet"—2015 is on track to be the hottest year on record, and 2011-2015 has been the warmest five-year period on record.
Also on Wednesday, international aid group Oxfam expressed the inverse of the Pope's remarks, warning in a report that "Left unchecked, climate change could reverse decades of development in the world’s poorest countries."
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Emily Deanne
Shower shoes? Check. Extra-long sheets? Yep. Energy efficiency checklist? No worries — we've got you covered there. If you're one of the nation's 12.1 million full-time undergraduate college students, you no doubt have a lot to keep in mind as you head off to school. If you're reading this, climate change is probably one of them, and with one-third of students choosing to live on campus, dorm life can have a big impact on the health of our planet. In fact, the annual energy use of one typical dormitory room can generate as much greenhouse gas pollution as the tailpipe emissions of a car driven more than 156,000 miles.
By Lorraine Chow
Kokia drynarioides is a small but significant flowering tree endemic to Hawaii's dry forests. Native Hawaiians used its large, scarlet flowers to make lei. Its sap was used as dye for ropes and nets. Its bark was used medicinally to treat thrush.
States that invest heavily in renewable energy will generate billions of dollars in health benefits in the next decade instead of spending billions to take care of people getting sick from air pollution caused by burning fossil fuels, according to a new study from MIT and reported on by The Verge.
Hawaii's Kilauea volcano could be gearing up for an eruption after a pond of water was discovered inside its summit crater for the first time in recorded history, according to the AP.
By Kristin Ohlson
From where I stand inside the South Dakota cornfield I was visiting with entomologist and former USDA scientist Jonathan Lundgren, all the human-inflicted traumas to Earth seem far away. It isn't just that the corn is as high as an elephant's eye — are people singing that song again? — but that the field burgeons and buzzes and chirps with all sorts of other life, too.
Humanity faced its hottest month in at least 140 years in July, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said on Thursday. The finding confirms similar analysis provided by its EU counterparts.
By Hans Nicholas Jong
Indonesia's president has made permanent a temporary moratorium on forest-clearing permits for plantations and logging.
It's a policy the government says has proven effective in curtailing deforestation, but whose apparent gains have been criticized by environmental activists as mere "propaganda."