Scientists are warning us that because of global warming, civilization is headed toward the worst catastrophe in human history. Unlike a war, a pandemic or a depression, this is not a disaster we can recover from in a few decades. This is a calamity that will take centuries, if not millennia, to recover from, if recovery is even possible.
The report of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, released Aug. 9, makes clear global warming is no longer a theory — it is a proven reality.
In the COVID crisis, it took thousands of deaths each month to convince America to take the pandemic seriously, and still some do not. If we cannot respond to a crisis we can see right now, how will we respond to a crisis in the future that too many refuse to see?
My only consolation is that Catholicism, through the pope, is on the right side of history for once. Sadly, too few of our bishops are following him and doing anything about the crisis. When was the last time you heard your bishop speak out on climate change?
As Pope Francis said, concern for the environment can no longer be an optional or secondary aspect of Christianity. It must be central to who we are as Christians. We must care for God’s creation; we must protect the Earth and all that lives on it. Otherwise, our children and grandchildren will experience the apocalypse.
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Jesuit Fr. Thomas Reese’s column for Religion News Service, “Signs of the Times,” appears regularly at National Catholic Reporter.
With thanks to the National Catholic Reporter, Religious News Service and Fr Tomas Reese SJ, where this article originally appeared.