Head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Gina McCarthy, is scheduled to meet with Pope Francis this Friday to discuss the 'moral issue' of climate change; a concern she shares with President Obama who recently ventured to India for climate talks. While in India, President Obama called on religious leaders to advocate for climate action and religious tolerance. Similarly, McCarthy is turning to faith leaders for guidance and assistance on climate action. In an interview with National Catholic Reporter, McCarthy shared, "It is about protecting those most vulnerable, and EPA's job, as focusing on public health and environmental protection, always tasked ourselves to look at those most vulnerable."
Faith leaders around the world have been discussing the effects climate change will have the poorest of regions, but Pope Francis has been the most outspoken using social media and news outlets to offer guidance to the 1.2 billion Catholics worldwide.
Pope Francis made headlines last week with a harsh (but true) declaration that humankind had "slapped nature in the face," later adding, "we have in a sense taken over nature." While preservation of God's creation often serves as a talking point, the underpinning of Pope Francis' efforts has, and likely will remain, about social justice. As faith leaders and followers, it is our moral obligation to care for the least of these.
Gina McCarthy, head of the Environmental Protection Agency, will make a short visit to the Vatican on Friday to discuss climate change. According to the National Catholic Reporter, McCarthy, an Irish Catholic from Massachusetts, will meet with senior officials including Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.
“We’re hoping that this effort will not only generate sort of a broader understanding of the challenge of climate change, but a really good discussion of how the work of the church, the work of all faiths, can actually be … a way that recognizes and addresses climate change,” she told NCR.
The visit comes as part of a five-day trip that will also take her to Geneva, Rome, and Florence. The President’s climate plan and the EPA’s role in addressing climate change will be the subject of her meetings throughout the trip.
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