This month’s Yale Climate Connections “This Is Not Cool” video traces some of the biblical background laying the foundation for what is expected to be Pope Francis’ coming encyclical on climate change.
The “moral case” for combatting climate change is “taking center stage in a way it never has before,” an on-screen voice intones. Lonnie Ellis of the Catholic Climate Covenant points out that Pope Francis, the first and only pope in 700 years to have chosen to name himself after Saint Francis of Assisi, patterned himself after “the patron saint for those who promote ecology.”
Religious scholars and leaders and scientists describe a tradition of seeing people and their environment not as separate entities but rather as “embedded” in the notion of creation. Texas Tech University Katharine Hayhoe, a leading evangelical climate scientist, says that unlike with issues such as evolution or the age of the universe, “no such passages” in the Bible lay a case for arguing against combatting human-caused climate change. She says climate change has been “falsely framed as an issue dividing faith and scientific interests.”