Just posted to our site, in light of the ongoing UN conference on climate change in Durban, South Africa, Elizabeth Groppe makes the case for climate change as a pro-life issue:
Unlike abortion and the death penalty, climate change does not entail an intentional act that ends the life of another human being. It is the unintentional outcome of the industrial and agricultural processes that have accompanied our economic development. As early as 1979, however, scientists testified to Congress of the possible consequences of climate change, and our inaction is already taking the lives of vulnerable human beings. In 2009, a study conducted by the Global Humanitarian Forum found that climate change was already responsible for 300,000 deaths a year, the suffering of 325 million people, and economic losses of over $100 billion. Over 90 percent of those persons most severely affected were from developing countries that have contributed least to global carbon emissions.
In the coming decades, climate change can bring deadly famine, displacement and disease to large sectors of the human population and spawn mass extinctions of other species. In the long term, the climate could change so radically that the earth could no longer support human civilization. In this sense, caring for the climate and the biosphere is a paramount pro-life issue.
Pope Benedict XVI lamented the failure of the international community to take appropriate action on climate change at the Copenhagen Climate Conference in 2009. The Vatican has installed solar panels on the roof of the Paul VI auditorium and declared the intention to make Vatican City the first carbon neutral state. In the United States, the Catholic Coalition on Climate Change supported by the bishops’ conference and other Catholic bodies is leading multiple initiatives, including the Catholic Climate Covenant. Participants in this covenant pledge in the spirit of St. Francis to educate themselves, pray, change their own energy-intensive patterns of living and lobby for policies that will address the climate crisis. These essential initiatives can be strengthened by recognizing climate change as a life issue that merits our attention in October’s annual Respect Life programs and January’s National Prayer Vigil for Life. We should also pursue new pro-life initiatives specific to the climate crisis, such as legal action to hold our government accountable for its repeated failure to protect the earth for generations unborn.
Read the rest here.