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Pope Francis disingenuous on climate change


Pope Francis needs to be praised for calling for an "ecological conversion" for the faithful in his sweeping new encyclical on the environment. "Each year sees the disappearance of thousands of plant and animal species which we will never know, which our children will never see, because they have been lost forever," he writes.

In a draft of his encyclical on the environment , Pope Francis says that the world could see the destruction of entire ecosystems this century without urgent action on climate change. He makes direct connections between our "throw-away culture" that pollutes and degrades the environment with how our society discards those "excluded" from the global economy, exploits workers, harvests human organs, and traffics in people.

The release of the Pope's 184-page teaching letter on the environment is being seen as the moment when the leader of 1.2 billion Catholics threw the Church's support behind the climate movement. 2

The Pope backs scientists who say global warming is mostly man-made and that developed countries have a particular responsibility to stem a trend that will hurt the poor the most. However, the Pope is being intellectually dishonest and evasive by rejecting suggestions that population control would solve the environmental crisis, saying instead the problem is one of “extreme consumerism”.

But, contradictorily, he also claims that: "In the face of the so-called culture of death, the family is the heart of the culture of life." And, "Since everything is interrelated, concern for the protection of nature is also incompatible with the justification of abortion." 1

Population "control", or less harshly, family planning, is far removed than a "culture of death" but of spacing pregnancies and avoiding unwanted ones. It doesn't have to mean abortion, but the use of contraceptives! He's equating "population control" with "abortion"?

Overpopulation is often the cause of poverty,and environmental degradation.

The Pope does not acknowledge that the Catholic Church has contributed to these environmental and social justice problems by its irrational and adamant opposition to responsible family planning.

So, if we will all switch off excessive lights, reduce the use of paper, plastic and water, separate trash, practice car-sharing then global population can keep overshooting natural limits with impunity? While we may individually reduce our impact on natural resources and waste, in absolute terms anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions will still keep rising due to exponential population growth!

Pope Francis still defends the Church's opposition to contraception. He's being enlightened, but at the same time directing the blame for over-consumption on the "wealthy" nations. Disingenuously, he's ignoring the impoverishing and destructive impacts of overpopulation.

Pope Francis goes on to acknowledge that “attention needs to be paid to imbalances in population density, on both national and global levels” . Apparently, then, it is not a surplus of babies that is the real problem, but where they are born.

Overpopulation is certainly not the sole cause of our environmental crisis, but there’s no question it is a significant contributing cause, and a rapidly expanding population will only exacerbate our environmental problems. 2

Improved access to contraception must be an integral part--albeit an essential one--of a larger effort to improve health and well-being in the developing world. 4

References:
1 http://www.smh.com.au/environment/global-warming/10-key-excerpts-from-pope-francis-encyclical-on-the-environment-20150618-ghru2s.html

2 http://www.abc.net.au/am/content/2015/s4257987.htm

3 http://www.csindy.com/IndyBlog/archives/2015/06/18/popes-green-cred-marred-by-family-planning-remarks

4 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-walker/the-papal-encyclical-taki_b_7612890.html

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There are more refugees in the world today than ever previously recorded — and more than half are children, the United Nations refugee agency said Thursday.

Nearly 60 million people were counted as forcibly displaced in 2014, according to the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Pope Francis has called on the world’s rich nations to take serious steps forward on climate change, the poor and the growing refugee crisis, saying those who “close the door” on the less fortunate should ask God's forgiveness.

Read more at http://www.9news.com.au/world/2015/06/18/21/00/pope-francis-calls-for-global-action-on-climate-change-and-refugee-crisis#lu5a3GXYHV7OmCPJ.99

He seems to be on a blame-game roll of pointing the finger to "wealthy" nations, instead of addressing the source of the problem.

Italy has threatened a backlash if other EU states refuse to share the burden of asylum seekers, but even so ministers took no decision to carry out proposals by the European Commission for quotas to redistribute 40,000 refugees.

An estimated 1,800 migrants from the Middle East and North Africa have died in the last six months while attempting to cross the Mediterranean to Europe, according to international observers. By connecting the migrant crisis to the issue of global warming, the pope makes clear the need for collective responsibility on these conjoined fronts.

Pope Francis gives a nod to those concerns in Laudato Si’, dismissing concerns about overpopulation. Significant progress has been made in reducing global hunger, but most of the gains have occurred in countries with relatively low fertility. Where fertility rates remain high, the battle against hunger is far from won. The population of South Sudan, which also ranks very high for hunger, is projected to rise by 236 percent. And these projections assume that fertility rates in these countries will continue their historic decline.

Reproductive choice should the the right of every woman, and access to contraception is essential for their wellbeing, and that of our planet.