For months now, Neddy Astudillo, a Presbyterian pastor, has doggedly worked the phones and webinars from her Tampa home, reaching out to religious congregations across Florida in an effort to get out the vote — particularly a vote that considers climate change.
"We've come to a point in our human history that our vote and our say and our policies [in the United States] have an impact, and will have an impact, on millions of people around the world, and have and will have on future generations," especially related to climate change, she said.
It's a message Astudillo has repeated in conversations about the importance of the presidential election as part of the Compassionate Voter Campaign, an election season undertaking by the interreligious group GreenFaith — one of numerous efforts by climate-focused faith groups to mobilize religious voters to take environmental concerns with them to the ballot box.
Addressing climate change is a faith-based obligation to “protect God’s creation,” say 81 percent of American religious voters surveyed in a poll released this morning from Climate Nexus and Yale and George Mason’s respective programs on climate change communications.
According to the poll, which surveyed voters who identified as evangelical and mainline Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, and religiously unaffiliated, voters of faith largely believe in climate change, are worried about it, and support providing federal funding to communities vulnerable to extreme weather in potential COVID-19 recovery funding.
“People are dying today from the impact of our neglect of God's creation,” said Dan Misleh, founding executive director of Catholic Climate Covenant.
While many Catholics in the United States today are debating Pope Francis’ reported nod to homosexual civil unions, there appears to be growing agreement within the US church both in the reality of climate change and that the issue must be addressed.
A majority of US Catholic voters would also support policies that address climate change, such as clean energy infrastructure. 76% of nonwhite Catholic voters expressed such support as did 68% of white Catholic voters.
Dan Misleh, executive director of Catholic Climate Covenant, does not believe in climate change. “I believe in God, something that I have not seen or directly witnessed—that’s a belief,” Mr. Misleh told Sebastian Gomes, host of the Voting Catholic podcast. “But climate change is scientific fact. I don’t ‘believe’ in it. I know it. It’s a fact.”
Mr. Misleh spoke on these facts, celebrated Pope Francis’ encyclical “Laudato Si’” and encouraged Catholics to take responsibility for the planet and mitigating climate change. The pope’s “message is that there are three relationships that are out of kilter,” Mr. Misleh said. “Our relationship with God, our relationship with one another and our relationship with nature.”
Climate change made a surprise appearance at the presidential debate on Tuesday night — for the first time since 2008 — even though it was not on the list of questions initially planned by moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News.
A poll by partners in the Covering Climate Now media consortium found that 72% of respondents wanted a climate question included in the presidential debates. And even before the debate, Joseph Winters at Grist argued that the other questions — including those related to the Supreme Court, the coronavirus pandemic and the economy — were also about climate.
“My goal is for the Diocese of Richmond to be the greenest in the country,” Charles Mikell, the diocese’s director of real estate, told America. That dream means converting or connecting 146 parishes, 23 schools, eight nursing homes and eight cemeteries to solar energy. For a diocese that covers 33,000 square miles, about four-fifths of Virginia, the metric tons of greenhouse gas reductions could quickly add up.
Pushing back against single-issue voting, the bishop of Lexington, Kentucky, said Catholics should consider concerns beyond abortion, such as the environment, when evaluating candidates for political office.
The comments from Bishop John Stowe came during a webinar Sept. 10 on Catholic social teaching and political participation hosted by the Catholic Climate Covenant. The event was the first of a five-part series for the Season of Creation (Sept. 1-Oct. 4) that seeks to equip Catholics with a basis of Catholic social teaching, including care for creation, to use in marking their ballot in the November elections.
Solar Builder readers submitted their coolest, most innovative and noteworthy solar projects of the last 12 months, and after combing through another record amount of submissions, we’ve narrowed the field to these 2020 Project of the Year nominees!
Reflections and results of the research and studies are collected in podcasts that the Vatican COVID-19 Commission makes available to anyone who wants to stay informed about the progress of the work it is carrying out.
We share some of the best podcasts produced during the work of the taskforces, on the topics of ecology, security, economy and health.
This week on Just Love, Monsignor Kevin Sullivan talks about Hurricane Laura and the effects of climate change on the poor.
Ben Broussard is the Chief Communications Officer of Catholic Charities of Acadiana located in the Diocese of Lafayette in Southern Louisiana Cajun Country. Ben talks about the impact that Hurricane Laura has had on his community and surrounding communities in southern Louisiana, and how Catholic Charities of Acadiana is partnering with other Catholic Charities agencies across the state to assist those who have been impacted by the storm in communities that were already dealing with the onslaught of the Coronavirus Pandemic.
Dan Misleh got the idea for Catholic Energies after Pope Francis called on Catholics to take up a “commitment to the environment” in his 2015 encyclical letter Laudato Si.
Misleh had been speaking to Catholic groups on climate, as executive director of Catholic Climate Covenant, and people would often tell him they couldn’t persuade their pastor, or their Catholic school principal, to talk about climate issues.
RICHMOND, Virginia — Seven Catholic entities in the Diocese of Richmond are going solar.
Inspired by Pope Francis’s 2015 encyclical, Laudato Si’, on Care for Our Common Home, parishes and schools have partnered with Catholic Energies, a program of the Washington-based Catholic Climate Covenant, to integrate solar energy and other energy-saving tools into daily operations.
Catholic Energies projects the efforts will offset more than 45,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases — about that of an average passenger car driven 100 million miles — over the next 25 years.
Solar projects at seven Catholic entities in the Diocese of Richmond are expected to offset more than 45,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases — about that of an average passenger car driven 100 million miles — over the next 25 years.
Such are the statistics from Catholic Energies, a service of the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit Catholic Climate Covenant which helps guide the U.S. Church’s response on climate change and care for creation.
Seven Catholic communities in the Catholic Diocese of Richmond, Virginia, have completed or nearly completed solar projects with Catholic Energies this summer, representing a substantial injection of solar power across the Diocese’s churches and schools. The combined projects will generate over 1.6 million kWh of clean electricity each year for decades and save the churches more than $2 million in energy operating costs during the term of their solar agreements.
When Michelle Obama urged Americans at the Democratic National Convention Aug. 17 to vote for Joe Biden "like our lives depend on it," her words carried special meaning among the growing number of voters concerned about climate change — a crisis they see only worsening without a change in the White House in November.
The state of the climate was spotlighted on Aug. 19, the penultimate night of the mostly virtual convention, when Democrats homed in on the convergence of climate change, jobs and justice as a key plank for voters to decide the fate of the 2020 election.
A video segment narrated by a union electrical worker compared the challenge of global warming to the moon race, and with it, the potential for creating millions of clean energy jobs. Young Americans across the country told of climate change's impact on their lives: a woman in California battling asthma and driven to activism from the devastating 2018 Camp Fire; a corn farmer in Wisconsin with lower crop yields "because of unpredictable and torrential spring rains" and environmental activists in Detroit and Las Vegas "facing the burden of pollution" and related health problems in their neighborhoods.
A quick scan of the parishes and groups partnering with Catholic Energies reveals a noticeable geographic pattern: Virginia is a growing hotbed of solar activity.
Last month, three parishes in the Arlington Diocese powered up new solar installations, each developed and financed through Catholic Energies, the burgeoning program of the Catholic Climate Covenant that helps church institutions find outside funding to take on energy initiatives without the initial burden of hefty upfront costs.
The encyclical ‘Laudato Si’ motivated many people to take action on global warming, but governments, the pope said, have lagged far behind.
When Pope Francis issued his landmark teaching document on climate change in 2015, his words went straight to the heart of Susan Varlamoff.
Varlamoff, 70, a biologist, read Rachel Carson's Silent Spring in the 1960s and speaks proudly of a Catholic faith that embraces science and calls on church members to take care of the earth. Her sister, she said, died from cancer as a child, and she wondered whether her father's liberal use of pesticides in their suburban yard might have been the cause.
Jesus tells his disciples to proclaim his words from the housetops, said Father Robert C. Cilinski. The pastor of Church of the Nativity in Burke thinks the sun-absorbing equipment recently installed on the roof of his church is doing just that. “Our solar panels are on the rooftop shouting the wisdom of ‘Laudato Si,’ the social teaching of the church,” he said.
Across America, individuals and communities are wrestling with issues of systemic racism.
That includes the environmental movement.
In recent weeks, numerousreportshave described how some of the nation's highest profile environmental organizations — the Sierra Club, National Resources Defense Council and Sunrise Movement, among them — are responding to the movement's own struggles with diversity and disconnect with communities of color, which are often most harmed by pollution and the mistreatment of the environment.
Last year at Creighton University, more than 200 people gathered for the first of a series of conferences aimed at deeper daily integration of the messages of "Laudato Si', on Care of Our Common Home." The participants arrived in Omaha from many corners of Catholic life, among them parishes, high schools, congregations of religious women, universities and the Vatican.
The killing of George Floyd has sparked a reckoning moment on race.
Around the country and the world, both people and institutions are grappling with the deadly consequences of anti-black racism. The environmental movement is no exception, and has begun confronting its own history of homogeneity, racism and xenophobia.
Participants in a May 29, 2020, Zoom dialogue about "Laudato Si After Five Years: Hearing the Cry of the Earth and the Cry of the Poor" discussed five years of Laudato Si' They are Kim Daniels of the Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life at Georgetown University; Christiana Zenner of Fordham University; Cardinal Peter Turkson, prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development; Dan Misleh of Catholic Climate Covenant ; and Kim Wasserman of Little Village Environmental Justice Organization. (CNS/screen grab via Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life, Georgetown University)
Catholic Climate Covenant Executive Director Dan Misleh spoke recently with Ernesto Gluscksmann at Through the Noise Podcast about how Catholic Energies projects are helping parishes around the country save money while being good stewards of the planet.