Quantcast

Robert Redford: Pope Francis Is Right, Climate Change Is a Moral Imperative

Climate

Pope Francisaddress to Congress will go down in history as a day when the needle finally moved on climate change. The pontiff’s timely message of more dialogue and less discord, respect for life in all of its stages, and a call to protect our common home was irrepressible and impossible to ignore. Sometimes you need a friend to tell you the truth. It took someone from outside the U.S. to come and remind us who we are—nd who we are supposed to be.

The choice has never been clearer. If we carry on polluting our planet with dirty energy, our children will pay the greatest price. Filthy air is already killing hundreds of thousands every year. Flooding, drought, wildfires and hurricanes—all you have to do is open your eyes to see the damage being done, and it’s going to get worse.

We can no longer claim ignorance as an excuse for inaction. The jury is no longer out—climate change is real. It is not just a threat for the future, but happening here and now. And as Pope Francis so eloquently points out, climate change is a moral imperative that transcends politics.

My sense of urgency is growing, but so is hope for the future. The clean energy revolution is taking off, creating a healthier future for all our families. California is on the front line of drought and wildfires, but it’s also taking the lead in the race toward 100 percent renewable energy. The mayors of San Francisco, San Diego and San Jose are well on the way to this goal, and Los Angeles could soon join them. Some of the world’s largest companies—Google, Apple and Facebook among them—are all committed to going 100 percent clean, investing billions every year to make this future a reality.

Fifty-five countries around the world already get most of their power from renewables. Villages across India and Africa are being lit up by clean energy. The business case is as strong as the moral argument, with the pope himself saying that fossil fuels need to be replaced “without delay.” But while the dirty establishment still sings its siren song, bold leadership is needed to seize these opportunities.

Read page 1

This is the call of our generation. The Global Goals—signed at the United Nations last week – are a new universal declaration of rights for a world freed from the ravages of poverty, inequality and climate change. For the first time ever, they commit to the goal of “affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.”

Next in December, world leaders will meet in Paris to hash out a global treaty to prevent runaway climate change. More than fifty countries that are together responsible for the majority of global emissions have already submitted plans, and consensus is building around a goal to mark the beginning of the end of the fossil fuel era.

Citizens must make our voices heard—without public pressure, politicians can fall short. The Global Goals campaign is working to tell everyone about this vision of a new development path, and to help the world’s seven billion people to hold our leaders accountable.

Decades ago, I made a commitment to myself to raise whatever small voice I had to make a change. Today we can join our voices around the world like never before and set the agenda for presidents and prime ministers.

But the most important action starts close to home. Most of us today live in cities, which account for more than 70 percent of global CO2 emissions, and are found mostly in vulnerable and coastal areas. Cities like Los Angeles, Paris and London can lead the way on climate change, and cities like Sydney, Stockholm and Bogota are already on the road to 100 percent clean energy.

Groups such as the Compact of Mayors are doing impressive work on everything from electric buses to eco-roofs and LED streetlights, reaping savings for their budgets and their inhabitants.

So here’s my ask of you. Please join me by using your own voice. Search out the Global Goals and share them with your friends and leaders. Support the transition to clean energy in your own community. Help move the needle and hold your leaders—from mayors to ministers—accountable. This is our only planet, our only source of life. If we join together, we can become who we are truly supposed to be.

Robert Redford is an actor, director and trustee of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). This article originally appeared on MSNBC.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

146 Countries Covering Almost 87% of Global Emissions Submit Climate Plans Ahead of Paris

Al Gore Blasts GOP Climate Deniers, Thom Hartmann Says Throw Them in Jail

Yeb Saño Embarks on 930-Mile Walk From Rome to Paris Demanding World Leaders Take Climate Action

It’s Official: Republicans Want Climate Action and Support Accelerating Renewable Energy

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Brown bear fishing for salmon in creek at Pavlof Harbor in Tongass National Forest, Alaska. Wolfgang Kaehler / LightRocket / Getty Images

The Trump administration has moved one step closer to opening Earth's largest intact temperate rainforest to logging.

Read More Show Less
The Democratic primary candidates take the stage during Tuesday's debate. SAUL LOEB / AFP via Getty Images

On Tuesday night, the Democratic presidential candidates gathered for what The Guardian said was the largest primary debate in U.S. history, and they weren't asked a single question about the climate crisis.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
A. Battenburg / Technical University of Munich

By Sarah Kennedy

Algae in a pond may look flimsy. But scientists are using algae to develop industrial-strength material that's as hard as steel but only a fraction of the weight.



Read More Show Less
Variety of fermented food korean traditional kimchi cabbage and radish salad. white and red sauerkraut in ceramic plates over grey spotted background. Natasha Breen / REDA&CO / Universal Images Group / Getty Image

By Anne Danahy, MS, RDN

Even if you've never taken probiotics, you've probably heard of them.

These supplements provide numerous benefits because they contain live microorganisms, such as bacteria or yeast, which support the healthy bacteria in your gut (1, 2, 3, 4).

Read More Show Less
Pexels

Singapore will become the first country in the world to place a ban on advertisements for carbonated drinks and juices with high sugar contents, its health ministry announced last week. The law is intended to curb sugar consumption since the country has some of the world's highest diabetes rates per capita, as Reuters reported.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored

A typical adult takes around 20,000 breaths per day. If you live in a megacity like Beijing, with many of those lungfuls you're likely to inhale a noxious mixture of chemicals and pollutants.

Read More Show Less
Fred Stone holds his brown swiss cow Lida Rose at his Arundel dairy farm on March 18 after a press conference where he spoke about PFAS chemical contamination in his fields. Gregory Rec / Portland Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

By Susan Cosier

First there was Fred Stone, the third-generation dairy farmer in Maine who discovered that the milk from his cows contained harmful chemicals. Then came Art Schaap, a second-generation dairy farmer in New Mexico, who had to dump 15,000 gallons of contaminated milk a day.

Read More Show Less
Protesters attend the 32nd annual Fur-Free Friday demonstration on Nov. 23, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California. Ella DeGea / Getty Images

California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law a bill that that bans the sale and manufacture of fur products in the state. The fur ban, which he signed into law on Saturday, prohibits Californians from selling or making clothing, shoes or handbags with fur starting in 2023, according to the AP.

Read More Show Less