The Greenhounds' opinions on climate change

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Kristina Wyman's picture
Joey Barile and Justin Clutter

Two climate change seminars were held on Monday, October 19. The first was given by Professor Jennifer Marlon of Yale University, and the second by Celia Deane Drummond, a professor of Theology at The University of Notre Dame.

Students gave an explanation of campus groups who focus on topics of sustainability and fair trade, such as the Social Justice Ambassadors and the Greenhounds. She explained that the students of today are the ones who will be faced with the effects of climate change and global warming, but are the last generation who will be able to do anything about it.

Marlons’ seminar was held in the Fuller Auditorium in Testa Science Center. She started out the seminar by saying that she had narrowed global warming down to five beliefs. The beliefs are: that it is real, that it is caused by humans, that scientists and the Pope agree, that it is bad and lastly that there is hope for the future.

During her research, Marlon saw a decrease in concern about global warming from the years 2008 to 2010. In 2008, 71 percent of Americans thought that global warming was happening, but by 2010 that number had decreased to 53 percent.

Professor Marlon attributed this decline to many factors: the economy and unemployment, declining media coverage, unusual cold weather, industry denial, climategate and increased political polarization.

However, a recent poll showed that global warming awareness is on the rise in the United States. The results of the study show that 12 percent of the public are alarmed, 29 percent are concerned, 26 percent are cautious, seven percent are disengaged, 15 percent are doubtful and 11 percent are dismissive.

In a poll about the regulation of CO2 as a pollutant, 74 percent of Americans said that they would support it. Marlon attributed this increase in the belief of global warming to record setting extreme weather events, increasing media coverage and the increase in the economy. Almost half a million people attended a climate march in New York City last year trying to raise awareness for global warming and climate change.

In conclusion, Professor Marlon said that through small advocacy groups and large demonstrations such as the climate march, there is hope. If you would like to learn more about global warming or climate change, Yale University produces 90 second podcasts called Climate Connections. They can be found on the Yale University website under Climate Connection Podcasts.

Drummond, gave a presentation on A Franciscan Vision for a New Earth, which advocated Pope Francis’s conversion and connection between faith and the environment. The encyclical describes the differences between the basic human need and their consumeristic appetite.

“Nature is usually seen as a system which can be studied, whereas creation can only be understood as a gift from the outstretched hand of the Father of all, and as a reality illuminated by the love which calls us together into the universal communion,” said Pope Francis.

Pope Francis believes that not only Catholics, but the rest of the human race should respect what we see as creation, and that exploiting Earth’s resources like the rainforest is sinful.

Pope Francis considers that the previous generations are small and non-negotiable, and that our future generations will be potentially unlimited with new technologies. Although Pope Francis urges us to use renewable energy instead of conventional fuels. Previously, environmental issues were never a concern for the Catholic community, making it more of a political issue than anything.

However, since 2013, when Pope Francis was inaugurated into the Vatican, he has given insight on the connection between faith and the environment.

“All it takes is one good person to restore hope,” Pope Francis said.

However, in Pope Francis’s Laudato Si, he describes that we can change the environmental by implementing core values of Christianity. Love for one another means not only love between humans, but also creatures; hope is the confidence in the power of God; other beings of the Earth are part of God’s glory; the joy of celebrating the gift of Earth and lastly humility.

Once we as a whole lose the harm of society and the environment are all values that weave between theological and environmental threads. Within his presentation, Pope Francis puts aside religious ideologies, and urges that all communities of the world need to find ways to conserve resources and lessen consumption so that generations to come will be able to share the same love and compassion as we do.

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