The environmental world got a boost last week when the Vatican released the Pope’s Encyclical on climate change. So now we have science and religion on the same side; no big-bang theory v. evolution on this issue. Who can deny climate change now? Here’s a link to a youtube trailer “Pope Francis: The Encyclical” which is a spoof on the report and very funny. Of course, there are still climate change deniers, mostly those that don’t believe empirical data – in other words, they can’t read.
On a very similar environmental pilgrimage, the monks of Holy Cross Abbey in Berryville, Virginia have done their part to clean up almost four and a half miles of stream banks by removing livestock from the Shenandoah River and its tributaries on their 1,200-acre farm. So, now we have science and religion supporting our blueprint to restore the Chesapeake Bay. Fencing livestock out of streams is a no-brainer and there are plenty of programs to help get it done.
“How could we be true to our guiding principle of loving our ‘place’ with cows in the river and streams”, stated Father James in this Chesapeake Bay Foundation success story.
To learn more about stream fencing, riparian buffers, and programs to help you “get more on the ground”, get in touch with me – I will help you.
I was delighted with Pope Francis’ encyclical. It is based on sound science and rooted in the larger context of social justice and global stewardship. That fact that it left politicians and radio clowns sputtering for a response is also of some value.
Thanks Jim, great comment.
Amen, Jim, that’s the gospel truth.
Bobby, thanks. You remind us who we want to be, and offer to help us be those people.
David thanks very much. I am delighted that this remains the only blog you read.
Accusing climate change deniers of not being able to read…still enjoying a chuckle over that. We might be the only species responsible for its own extinction over the next few generations. Is that the Abbey that makes the chocolate covered fruit cakes?
Charlie, thanks. Did you watch that video? Yes, these are the monks that make those delicious dark chocolate covered fruit cake slices. Pairs well with a good port.
you continue to be my hero! thanks for always being there to remind and push us to do more. KEEP IT UP!!! Take care. mt
This is a great development from the religious community. As I have worked for decades practicing, promoting and developing common sense ways to implement “restorative forestry”, I’ve encountered several flavors of resistance to the idea of imitating nature and harvesting trees on a “worst first” single tree selection basis. One of the initial denials is dismissing the capacity of modern animal power to accomplish extraction volume, which history counter dismisses, despite low levels of animal husband skills and practitioner numbers. That criticism is mostly economically driven, people often want the most money as quickly as possible leading to the “liquidation” of forested assets as if they are not an ecological component vital to the health of our natural world.
The relevant comment to the Pope’s position is one often heard from some Christians interpreting Biblical scripture to allow for man to hold dominion over the earth and take from it for their needs. That ideal/thinking often includes the dismissal of environmental concerns based up the “second coming of Christ” being the most important thing in life. Some say that the “rapture” is the most important thing and that concern for the environment is unwarranted and that they will take what they want NOW. The “Rapturist” mentality is not reachable with concern for improving our natural world or being true stewards of all life around us. So the leader of one of the largest religions on earth owning the potential of human presence being a positive force for the future of our planet is refreshing. Good on the Monks for keeping cows out of the creeks too.
Meanwhile most farmers are struggling to make hay in the tropical monsoons of this season, myself included. We’ve had rain everyday as storms pop up in the afternoons throughout our region. Farmers grow grass, but weather makes hay. Thanks for another thoughtful blog Bobby.
I like this Pope. However, I hold out little hope that the masses with their short attention spans and modern lifestyles running at the speed of the Internet will hardly remember in a week or 2. Unfortunately Rush Limbaugh has more influence over many of the people than the Pope does in this country.
Most folks are just trying to survive these days and hold onto their jobs with our shaky economy ready to crumble at any moment and could care less about the environment if it affects the economy. This is especially true of the young generation of farmers I work with. I had better success working with their fathers and grandfathers who were not so financed to the hilt they had to take out every fence row, small woodlot and wetland to plant every square inch to GMO crops.
I hope your neighborhood is looking better than mine Bobby as I have never seen such erosion or water quality issues and loss of habitat. It’s time to crank up the volume!
Thanks Jim, great comment. Thanks for posting!
Jim, thanks for reaching out as usual. Great comment. We have had gentle rains so far and greatly appreciate it. Of course we all need to crank up not only the volume but the actions as well.
If this Pope isn’t careful he’s going to make me a Catholic…..
Well said, Bobby. Well said.
Thanks Bobby! We are working hard on a documentary about the monks embrace of stewardship and sustainability at the crossroads of theology and ecology. Coming soon….how folks can help us finish our work. As always, thanks for your leadership!
Bobby, I’m glad you’ve connected the global to the local and climate change to water and landscape solutions. Sometimes climate change seems so big that it can be hard to know where any of us can start to make a difference. But we need local solutions as much as we need global ones.
As a fellow blogger, I’ve also just published a piece about Pope Francis’s letter:
Thanks for posting Bobby. This is great news. Christian leaders worldwide should be more forward about our stewardship responsibilities over creation. Ezekiel 34:18-19 gets at the heart of it. The Chesapeake Bay Commission’s May 2015 report on Healthy Livestock, Healthy Streams makes a strong case, as have previous documents; it can be found at http://www.chesbay.us/recent.htm
Thanks Jack for your kind words and for the link to the CBC report…it’s a good one!
The monks should be applauded for preventing their animals from contaminating the waterway on their farm. While I concur with the need to abate nutrient flow into water bodies, I must dissent on the issue of climate change. Much of the skepticism around climate change has been silenced in the media, because it does not fit the narrative of catastrophic man made climate change. Even Bill Nye, whom I admire, has recently posited that climate skeptics should have their ideas censored. How absurd, and frightening, that science could ever be settled and that all debate should be quashed? Maybe we should follow the Catholic churches precedent on dissent and convict dissenters of heresy and place them on house arrest for life as happened to Galileo when he pushed for a heliocentric model of the solar system in the early 1600’s. By the way, it took the Catholic church almost 400 years to apologize for imprisoning one of the fathers of modern science.
The climate denier issue is a straw man in many cases. Very few people completely deny climate change, they reject some of the reasons put forth for its occurrence or the level of damage it will cause. Prominent climate scientists including MIT’s Dr. Richard Lindzen (Ret.) and founding member of Greenpeace Dr. Patrick Moore have published work that goes against the common narrative, but rarely will prominence come to their research. This is the antithesis of science, having drawn a conclusion and now seeking evidence for it. Confirmation bias of this nature prevents true discourse around the issue, coupled with flat out silencing of discourse we traverse a slippery slope with unknown consequences.
I have always been fascinated with the revolutionary things that Pope Francis has done and said in the short time he has held the position. Reading over the Encyclical, it is clear that he has a deep understanding of the intricate nature of how climate change affects our society on a global scale. If only his holistic (scientific, social, economic, and political) approach to this issue were more common among policy makers. I think he sums it up nicely when he says “I beg the Lord to grant us more politicians who are genuinely disturbed by the state of society, the people, the lives of the poor!”
It makes me happy to see that different religions can agree that action needs to be taken in order to improve our environment. This is one of the fastest ways to unite people to make a large action force towards improving the ecosystem. I am very infuriated when people (no matter the religion) refuse to accept the cold hard truth, especially about global warming. Everyone is in titled to their beliefs, but ignorance will not be tolerated. Hopefully thanks to the Pope and the Monks taking these steps anyone who is in denial about the worsening of environmental conditions will have their eyes opened and see the light about all of the environmental issues we can help fix if we work together!
The whole science vs. religion has always been a debate about the creation of the world, evolution, and several other issues. It is monumental that Pope Francis has set aside these differences in beliefs and recognizes the importance of modern science and what it tells us is going on in the world NOW. The issue of climate change is not a debate between science and religion, it is an issue that we all face together, and the Pope highlights this point in the Encyclical. It also seems that Pope Francis understands the breadth of the issue, as he discusses other issues related to climate change such as the issue of water, loss of biodiversity, and several other socio-environmental issues.
It is really awesome that religious leaders like the Pope has decided to get behind the environmental movement. It is important to get all leaders that have influential strength on the people of the world to get behind ideals like this to get the rest of the world to start thinking about this.
Religion is a powerful thing. The majority of people in the world subscribe to a certain set of beliefs, a certain religion. Religion is powerful and seeing how the most visible and highest position in the religious world brings attention to the impending environmental problems of global society faces brings increased hope for change. In the Encyclical a great point was made, “Patriarch Bartholomew has drawn attention to the ethical and spiritual roots of environmental problems, which require that we look for solutions not only in technology but in a change of humanity; otherwise we would be dealing merely with symptoms.” In my opinion this is a very true statement and in efforts to bring about environmental change, we must first look to change the way humanity thinks about their actions and its effect on the environment.
Matt, thanks for actually reading the encyclical.
I remember reading about this encyclical at the time it was released and it truly felt like a “win” for the scientific world. It continues to boggle my mind when people argue against climate change because they haven’t seen the firsthand effects (yet). I hope that this encyclical can serve as the first step to uniting all climate change contributors in order to make a positive difference. The Holy Cross Abbey has proven that we don’t need a united international effort to make change but we do need everyone working towards a common goal if we plan to protect our planet.
I’m pleased to see that someone of such high power is making an effort to help the Earth. The Pope has many followers and believers so hopefully the message gets through to people. I can only hope that people begin to make the progressive steps forward to save our planet, especially with the push of the Pope.
I have read the Pope’s standing on climate change, it was actually discussed in my church one Sunday and I think it is amazing how science and religion are coming together and agreeing on reality. It is so important for people of all faiths and anything they believe in to join together and help fix this problem. I have never seen the trailer that is shown here but I think it is such a great promo video to catch peoples attention. I really like Pope Francis and I think he is so motivated to make a change and get as many people on board.
This article was very interesting to me. The Pope’s Encyclical was very informative and provided a different outlook on climate change. That being said it was a view that all scientists can agree with in the sense that climate change is a real thing, and it is happening now. This encyclical is important because it provides a bridge between religion and science that very rarely forms. Having the Pope take the time to issue this encyclical allows for the non-scientists who follow the Pope’s words to realize that climate change is affecting this world in a negative way, and that the human population is the primary reason for it. Overall it was informative, and it was nice to see such a powerful religious figure use his leadership to address real world scientific issues.
I think this is a great way to reach more people! I’m glad this religious leader stood up for the environment, hopefully this will allow more leaders to follow in his footstep. I also never knew about the monks in Berryville and I am delighted to here they are on the side of the Blueprint.
It is refreshing to hear that the Pope has put some thought into climate change, since it is a problem that everyone on this earth must face together. He possess the power to reach out to millions of people and probably the most effective at getting people to understand and listen! Cool blog post about the interesting relationship between science and religion.
This is a great success story, it’s awesome to see some positive news and different communities working together to preserve the land! It will be beneficial to everyone to have clean fresh water and a clean Bay. The Pope acknowledging the reality of climate change is a great, progressive step to help unify us in our efforts to live sustainable lives and preserve the natural resources around us.
Regardless of how brief this particular article was, it was inherently clear the interchangeable qualities among topics concerning science and religion. The best management practices discussed briefly above are all important factors that every farmer needs to consider, but it is also important to note Chesapeake Bay restoration programs so that we may continue supporting programs assisting environmental awareness within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed
Pope Francis’ comments on global climate change are both comforting and inspiring. His words to the world are as powerful as anybody’s, and his impact on both industries and individuals may begin a greater movement towards world sustainability. He criticizes the world for “collective selfishness”, which should motivate people to think about making decisions to better the condition of the world instead of what benefits their personal life. I’ve read through parts of his encyclical and the quote that really left me in deep thought was:
“The violence present in our hearts, wounded by sin, is also reflected in the symptoms of sickness evident in the soil, in the water, in the air and in all forms of life.”
Sean, thanks actually going to the encyclical and reading…
This is a great topic to read about. This shows that even leaders can take initiative in trying to save and conserve the environment. Even the Youtube trailer is a great touch to the issue of climate change. The video was very amusing but definitely got the point across of the main issue. The religious community should definitely get more involved in the environment because in order for us to be able to save the environment we all have to understand it. This includes learning the issues of climate change and how us humans affect it. Overall this was very entertaining and informative.
It’s interesting to see religion and science on the same side. I can appreciate that the Catholic Church will support the notion that climate change is actually happening, even though a significant portion of the population refuses to believe it. It seems that they do find some real value in science, when many people believe that religious organizations simply write it off. I will say that this stigma, especially with the Catholic Church, may arise from cases like Galileo and his belief in geocentrism or Darwin and evolution. However, in both of those cases neither really had hard evidence at the time to provide support their claims. With climate change we have the data and I think that makes the difference.
It is so great to see the a religious community in line with the scientific community at large. There is no debate now that climate change is real or not and unfortunately, there are still nonbelievers out there. As the number of people that are educated about this grand issue grow, the faster everyone can work together to slow the negative effects we are having on the planet. If more religious communities, such as the Holy Cross Abbey, partake in educating their followers, the doubters may listen to their side of the story since it is not coming from a strictly scientific standpoint. The ultimate goal is to slow the irreversible effects that we have made on the earth and to eventually remedy them in the future for the upcoming generations.
I think it’s crazy how people can witness a blizzard in some part of the world or hear on the news about “Record low temperatures” and use that as a scapegoat to deny global climate change. Having religion on the scientist’s side is a great start, but we need to teach people how the climates are changing in order to rid people of aforementioned mentalities. Hopefully these religious groups influence others to follow in their footsteps. I’m not sure what the Mennonite community is practicing on their farms around Harrisonburg, but if they did what these monks did, it would be a great influence to everyone surrounding them.
Parker, you are so right!
It’s nice to finally hear wide spread religion’s accepting the truth about global climate change. Tradition and lack of change has caused many problems for the environment. Environmental science was not a thing until recent but to this day we do not have the diagnostics or complete understanding of holistic systems before we employ new products, chemicals or technology that could negatively impact the environment. However, the Pope acknowledging climate change is a huge step for man kind because Christianity is by far the worlds largest religion with an estimated 2.2 billion adherents. That is 30 percent of the world’s population to date. Hopefully Christians will see eye to eye with Pope Francis and do their part to reduce emissions.
It’s great that the Pope has decided to finally bring science and the Christian faith together. Hopefully other religious leaders, and for that matter, political leaders will follow suit and provide support for the environmental movement, which seeks to benefit everyone. It’s also great seeing solutions being implemented on small scale levels, like at the Holy Cross Abbey in Berryville, because every little bit does help. If more and more individuals take follow the example of their political and religious leaders are, then we are on the right track to remediating our environment.
It is good to see the leaders of the Catholic Church engaging their followers with environmental science and that they incorporate stewardship of the land into the fundamental values of religion; Such a union has the potential to rapidly shift minds and attitudes to value the environment over immediate economic benefits.
Growing up in the Catholic church and in Catholic school, it is good to see the religious side agree with the scientists about the environmental issues facing us today. It just further shows that the evidence is there to support climate change and people are starting to pay attention to it. With religious leaders and monasteries starting to act on these issues, hopefully followers across the world will act as well to preserve and manage the land correctly.