Scientists have been warning people for decades that climate change is a serious and pervasive threat to the prosperity of humankind. And while climate efforts of the past few decades are not to be forgotten, they simply have not been enough in garnering the necessary public support needed to curb the impacts of climate change.
This past week, two unassociated panels, one in California and one in Italy, gathered religious leaders to discuss the role of religion in transforming the discussion on climate change. Monsignor Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council of Family, shared, "We have to rethink our relationship with this common home." Drawing on the words of Pope Francis which have single handily boosted American climate opinions and concern, the panel discussed ways in which all people of faith are called to guide the world to moral action on climate change.
Most notable of the discussion was the way in which religious leaders transformed the approach to climate talks into a moment of human empowerment rather than one of fear and anxiety. Former Italian Prime Minister Giuliano Amato concluded, "There is nothing more beautiful, more momentous, than the fact that we can choose, to design and build, our life project." But, undertaking this enormous project of human design, means we must rethink the way we address religion, business, governance and personal interactions with our 'common home.'
Douglas Fischer | The Daily Climate
RIETI, Italy – Religion needs a revolutionary shift, taking responsibility for our "common home" and rejecting fundamentalism, to point humanity to better, wiser solutions for problems like climate change.
Reason alone can't handle the job.
The message came from a panel convened here in Italy, where the papal encyclical issued this summer and the Paris attacks over the weekend were both very much present.
"Any fundamentalism breaks our common home," said Monsignor Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council of Family. "This is the most important message stemming from Pope Francis and his encyclical."
Paglia spoke via a translator at the 12th International Media Forum on the Protection of Nature, an annual gathering of scientists and journalists in Italy. Environmental Health Sciences, publisher of The Daily Climate and Environmental Health News, is being honored at the conference with the International Greenaccord Media Award.
At a discussion on religion and science, several theological experts called for more than a simple rethinking in the longstanding, antagonistic relationship between the two.
"What are our values that shape our individual behavior? From where do we receive our onus on responsibility?" asked former Italian Prime Minister Giuliano Amato, a member of the Constitutional Court, one of two supreme courts in Italy. "Religions are an irrenouncable moral guide for a free society."