Why battling climate change requires a spiritual rebirth (COMMENTARY)

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World leaders attend a meeting to launch the "Mission Innovation: Accelerating the Clean Energy Revolution" at the World Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21) near Paris, November 30, 2015. Photo courtesy REUTERS/Ian Langsdon/Pool

World leaders attend a meeting to launch the "Mission Innovation: Accelerating the Clean Energy Revolution" at the World Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21) near Paris, November 30, 2015. Photo courtesy REUTERS/Ian Langsdon/Pool

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(RNS) Solutions must come from the Paris conference but they also must come from rapid education and change of values, from what the gospels call “metanoia” or change of consciousness.

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  • Glenn Hawkins

    Wait a minute! I thought that greenhouse gases were the CAUSE of “climate change”. And now I read that the same thing, without humans happened about a million years ago. Do you think that, maybe, just maybe this “second round” of climate change MIGHT NOT have anything to do with us? I mean, it happened before without us.

  • Cam Webster

    Glenn, if you read a bit more on the subject, and stopped ignoring the evidence, you would appreciate that this time, the case is strong that the climate change that is happening is being caused by human activity.

    Maybe, just maybe, you should actually study the subject more rigorously before spouting off about it.

    Now get started reading: www3.epa.gov/climatechange/science/causes.html

  • Matthew Fox! You post an article by the infamous heretic Matthew Fox? The Matthew Fox who was expelled from the Dominican Order by Cardinal Ratzinger because of his heresies?

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  • Margaret Bullitt-Jonas

    Thank you, Matthew Fox, for your thoughtful wake-up call. Yes, we experience a spiritual awakening when we realize that we are not the center of the universe — God is (Psalm 24: “The Earth is the Lord’s”). The whole of Creation is holy. Perceiving the sacredness of ourselves, of each other, and of the whole web of life is an essential change of consciousness as we face the climate crisis, the harm that humans have done, and the need for a radical change of course. Please note that your numbers are incorrect — the global climate needs to warm only 3.9 and 3.5 degrees (not 39 and 35, as stated in the essay) to cause the suffering that you describe. I give thanks for religious leaders who grasp the spiritual and moral urgency of tackling the climate crisis. Climate change is humanity’s wake-up call and a test of our moral compass.

  • Be Brave

    If there has already been several “mass extinctions” per scientific authority, why are we at all concerned with the current one? Why is science leading a cause against global mass extinction that science has proven is utterly immutable?

    Life and non-life and life again. The story of planet earth. Why deny that? If science is leading this global sales pitch to buy “Green” stuff aplenty, then why not cash in on the new gimmick for as long as it lasts?

    Climate Change means BIG MONEY for BIG BUSINESS.

    Until we’re snuffed out like all of living things have been before us.

    We WILL be back.

    I’ve read the science books to prove it.

  • Tom Downs

    You forget geological forces like volcanos. They filled the atmosphere with a blanket of dust and gases. You forget the meteor strike that wiped out the dionsaurs and again blanketed the earth. Natural yes, but not the current problem.

  • Sue

    You may have “read” a few, but you’ve never grokked a science book in your life.

  • Jack

    It’s obvious that this is more about religion and philosophy than about science.

    Fox shouts it from the housetops…..He attacks the Judeo-Christian premise of the primacy of humanity and endorses the pantheistic alternative that humanity must decrease and the rest of nature increase in our estimation.

    The dogma of human-caused climate change is his latest vehicle to advance this cause.

    People like him have spent decades hovering around the environmental movement, latching on to anything that will advance their pantheism. And environmental extremism has given them ample ammo.

    In the early 1970s, it was Paul Ehrlich’s hysterical beliefs that a “population bomb” would lead to starvation in America and Europe by the ’80s. After that, global cooling was the latest apocalyptic rage. Now it’s warming or “change” of any kind.

    It’s high time to hold these people accountable for their repeated failed forecasts on all fronts.

  • dmj76


    Please give me an example of a scientific or engineering society that has pronouced human induced climate change a hoax.

    best wishes

  • Yup, climate changes.

    All by itself.

    It has done so for millions of years.

    The pollution contribution by 3% of the human race located in America is not significant compared to the billions of tons of pollution from India, Russia, China’s industries, and the animal dung used for fuel in so many places, and the billions of tons from home made charcoal in Africa, Asia, and Latin America where the fumes make it difficult to breathe.

  • Jack


    Please explain why I’m supposed to believe that the same people who were embarrassingly wrong on global cooling, population-bomb hysteria, and other apocalyptic warnings of coming calamities are somehow right about global warming being the ultimate calamity that awaits us if we don’t repent of the supposed sins of population growth and economic development.

    And please explain why these people have never admitted how dead-wrong they were about these previous scares.

    And finally, please explain why even in the global warming arena, their apocalyptic predictions from even 15 years ago have been so laughably wrong.

    They have the same predictive abilities as end-times preachers — which is to say, simply horrendous.

  • Dr. Cajetan Coelho

    Increasing our wants and trying to consume as much as possible in record time is doing much harm to our existence and to the well being of the Planet.

  • Jack

    No it isn’t.

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  • Faith of Our Fathers

    “Our real foe – the environmental danger to our planet” God created everything which includes carbon dioxide (Essential for organic/plant life) and other gases. With all due respect, our real foe is the devil and everything that stands in conflict with God. Climate changes started long before use of fossil fuels. Noah saw climate change. The disciples witnessed God’s power to calm storms. Who is control?

    “Instead of new aircraft carriers and faster bombers…” There are programs giving benefits to non-citizens or people who choose not to work (unbiblical), and pointless research projects. The Chinese, Russians, and our other “foes” will welcome it. Starving children don’t need a solar panel. They need food. Our government pays farmers NOT to grow crops

    People of Faith should ask more questions of our leaders and scientists and not assume our leaders are seeking God’s wisdom and discernment. Blind faith leads anywhere, not necessarily toward God’s will. Q: Does Fox drive…