This was a year of tug-of-war for the environment. With Donald Trump becoming president of the U.S. at a time when wildfires, hurricanes, and floods were devastating the country, it was challenging for scientists, activists and concerned citizens to get their voices heard. But several stood out as global leaders on climate and helped give rise to those who were silenced. Below are 14 of the most notable influencers of 2017 and how they fought for a cleaner, safer environment for all.
Pope Francis issued a strong message to negotiators at the COP23 climate talks in Bonn, Germany on Thursday, warning them not to fall into "four perverse attitudes" regarding the future of the planet—"denial, indifference, resignation and trust in inadequate solutions."
Francis, who has long pressed for strong climate action and wrote his 2015 encyclical on the environment, renewed his "urgent call" for renewed dialogue "on how we are building the future of the planet."
By Andrew McMaster
Speaking at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on World Food Day, Pope Francis addressed the need for governments around the world to acknowledge that climate change and migration were leading to increases in world hunger.
Francis received a standing ovation after a stirring speech in which he said all three issues were interrelated and require immediate attention.
Wednesday, a coalition of 40 faith institutions on five continents have jointly just announced their divestment from fossil fuels. This is a big moment for both the global divestment movement and faith community, and we need to keep this momentum going strong.
This commitment well and truly quadruples the one announced in May, when nine Catholic organizations divested. We need to celebrate it and also seize the opportunity to build upon this moment.
Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the head of the Orthodox Christian Church, issued a joint statement to mark the third annual "World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation" on Friday.
The religious leaders appealed to those in positions of power to "hear the cry of the Earth and to attend to the needs of the marginalized."
Pope Francis, who has a strong belief in the science of climate change, called upon world leaders on Wednesday to "listen to the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor, who suffer most because of the unbalanced ecology."
Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew I, the head of the Orthodox Christian Church, will issue a joint message to commemorate the annual "World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation" on Friday, the Associated Press reported.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)'s inspector general has launched a "preliminary investigation" into administrator Scott Pruitt's frequent trips back to his home state of Oklahoma "at taxpayer expense" following congressional requests.
The Office of Inspector General said in a letter it will investigate the "frequency, cost and extent of" Pruitt's travel to Oklahoma through the end of July. The office will also try to determine "whether EPA policies and procedures are sufficiently designed to prevent fraud, waste and abuse with the Administrator's travel that included trips to Oklahoma."