Full Text of Pope Francis’ Speech To Congress

TN Note: This is the full and unedited text of Pope Francis’ speech to Congress on September 24, 2015.

‘Mr. Vice-President, Mr. Speaker, Honorable Members of Congress, Dear Friends,

‘I am most grateful for your invitation to address this Joint Session of Congress in “the land of the free and the home of the brave.” I would like to think that the reason for this is that I too am a son of this great continent, from which we have all received so much and toward which we share a common responsibility.

‘Each son or daughter of a given country has a mission, a personal and social responsibility. Your own responsibility as members of Congress is to enable this country, by your legislative activity, to grow as a nation. You are the face of its people, their representatives. You are called to defend and preserve the dignity of your fellow citizens in the tireless and demanding pursuit of the common good, for this is the chief aim of all politics. A political society endures when it seeks, as a vocation, to satisfy common needs by stimulating the growth of all its members, especially those in situations of greater vulnerability or risk. Legislative activity is always based on care for the people. To this you have been invited, called and convened by those who elected you.

‘Yours is a work which makes me reflect in two ways on the figure of Moses. On the one hand, the patriarch and lawgiver of the people of Israel symbolizes the need of peoples to keep alive their sense of unity by means of just legislation. On the other, the figure of Moses leads us directly to God and thus to the transcendent dignity of the human being. Moses provides us with a good synthesis of your work: you are asked to protect, by means of the law, the image and likeness fashioned by God on every human face.

‘Today I would like not only to address you, but through you the entire people of the United States. Here, together with their representatives, I would like to take this opportunity to dialogue with the many thousands of men and women who strive each day to do an honest day’s work, to bring home their daily bread, to save money and –one step at a time – to build a better life for their families. These are men and women who are not concerned simply with paying their taxes, but in their own quiet way sustain the life of society. They generate solidarity by their actions, and they create organizations which offer a helping hand to those most in need.

‘I would also like to enter into dialogue with the many elderly persons who are a storehouse of wisdom forged by experience, and who seek in many ways, especially through volunteer work, to share their stories and their insights. I know that many of them are retired, but still active; they keep working to build up this land. I also want to dialogue with all those young people who are working to realize their great and noble aspirations, who are not led astray by facile proposals, and who face difficult situations, often as a result of immaturity on the part of many adults. I wish to dialogue with all of you, and I would like to do so through the historical memory of your people. 

‘My visit takes place at a time when men and women of good will are marking the anniversaries of several great Americans. The complexities of history and the reality of human weakness notwithstanding, these men and women, for all their many differences and limitations, were able by hard work and self-sacrifice – some at the cost of their lives – to build a better future. They shaped fundamental values which will endure forever in the spirit of the American people. A people with this spirit can live through many crises, tensions and conflicts, while always finding the resources to move forward, and to do so with dignity. These men and women offer us a way of seeing and interpreting reality. In honoring their memory, we are inspired, even amid conflicts, and in the here and now of each day, to draw upon our deepest cultural reserves.

‘I would like to mention four of these Americans: Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton.

‘This year marks the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, the guardian of liberty, who labored tirelessly that “this nation, under God, [might] have a new birth of freedom.” Building a future of freedom requires love of the common good and cooperation in a spirit of subsidiarity and solidarity.

‘All of us are quite aware of, and deeply worried by, the disturbing social and political situation of the world today. Our world is increasingly a place of violent conflict, hatred and brutal atrocities, committed even in the name of God and of religion. We know that no religion is immune from forms of individual delusion or ideological extremism. This means that we must be especially attentive to every type of fundamentalism, whether religious or of any other kind. A delicate balance is required to combat violence perpetrated in the name of a religion, an ideology or an economic system, while also safeguarding religious freedom, intellectual freedom and individual freedoms. But there is another temptation which we must especially guard against: the simplistic reductionism which sees only good or evil; or, if you will, the righteous and sinners. The contemporary world, with its open wounds which affect so many of our brothers and sisters, demands that we confront every form of polarization which would divide it into these two camps. We know that in the attempt to be freed of the enemy without, we can be tempted to feed the enemy within. To imitate the hatred and violence of tyrants and murderers is the best way to take their place. That is something which you, as a people, reject.

‘Our response must instead be one of hope and healing, of peace and justice. We are asked to summon the courage and the intelligence to resolve today’s many geopolitical and economic crises. Even in the developed world, the effects of unjust structures and actions are all too apparent. Our efforts must aim at restoring hope, righting wrongs, maintaining commitments, and thus promoting the well-being of individuals and of peoples. We must move forward together, as one, in a renewed spirit of fraternity and solidarity, cooperating generously for the common good.

‘The challenges facing us today call for a renewal of that spirit of cooperation, which has accomplished so much good throughout the history of the United States. The complexity, the gravity and the urgency of these challenges demand that we pool our resources and talents, and resolve to support one another, with respect for our differences and our convictions of conscience.

‘In this land, the various religious denominations have greatly contributed to building and strengthening society. It is important that today, as in the past, the voice of faith continue to be heard, for it is a voice of fraternity and love, which tries to bring out the best in each person and in each society. Such cooperation is a powerful resource in the battle to eliminate new global forms of slavery, born of grave injustices which can be overcome only through new policies and new forms of social consensus.

‘Here I think of the political history of the United States, where democracy is deeply rooted in the mind of the American people. All political activity must serve and promote the good of the human person and be based on respect for his or her dignity. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” (Declaration of Independence, 4 July 1776). If politics must truly be at the service of the human person, it follows that it cannot be a slave to the economy and finance. Politics is, instead, an expression of our compelling need to live as one, in order to build as one the greatest common good: that of a community which sacrifices particular interests in order to share, in justice and peace, its goods, its interests, its social life. I do not underestimate the difficulty that this involves, but I encourage you in this effort.

‘Here too I think of the march which Martin Luther King led from Selma to Montgomery fifty years ago as part of the campaign to fulfill his “dream” of full civil and political rights for African Americans. That dream continues to inspire us all. I am happy that America continues to be, for many, a land of “dreams.” Dreams which lead to action, to participation, to commitment. Dreams which awaken what is deepest and truest in the life of a people.

‘In recent centuries, millions of people came to this land to pursue their dream of building a future in freedom. We, the people of this continent, are not fearful of foreigners, because most of us were once foreigners. I say this to you as the son of immigrants, knowing that so many of you are also descended from immigrants. Tragically, the rights of those who were here long before us were not always respected. For those peoples and their nations, from the heart of American democracy, I wish to reaffirm my highest esteem and appreciation. Those first contacts were often turbulent and violent, but it is difficult to judge the past by the criteria of the present. Nonetheless, when the stranger in our midst appeals to us, we must not repeat the sins and the errors of the past. We must resolve now to live as nobly and as justly as possible, as we educate new generations not to turn their back on our “neighbors” and everything around us. Building a nation calls us to recognize that we must constantly relate to others, rejecting a mindset of hostility in order to adopt one of reciprocal subsidiarity, in a constant effort to do our best. I am confident that we can do this.

‘Our world is facing a refugee crisis of a magnitude not seen since the Second World War. This presents us with great challenges and many hard decisions. On this continent, too, thousands of persons are led to travel north in search of a better life for themselves and for their loved ones, in search of greater opportunities. Is this not what we want for our own children? We must not be taken aback by their numbers, but rather view them as persons, seeing their faces and listening to their stories, trying to respond as best we can to their situation. To respond in a way which is always humane, just and fraternal. We need to avoid a common temptation nowadays: to discard whatever proves troublesome. Let us remember the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Mt 7:12).

‘This Rule points us in a clear direction. Let us treat others with the same passion and compassion with which we want to be treated. Let us seek for others the same possibilities which we seek for ourselves. Let us help others to grow, as we would like to be helped ourselves. In a word, if we want security, let us give security; if we want life, let us give life; if we want opportunities, let us provide opportunities. The yardstick we use for others will be the yardstick which time will use for us. The Golden Rule also reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development.

‘This conviction has led me, from the beginning of my ministry, to advocate at different levels for the global abolition of the death penalty. I am convinced that this way is the best, since every life is sacred, every human person is endowed with an inalienable dignity, and society can only benefit from the rehabilitation of those convicted of crimes. Recently my brother bishops here in the United States renewed their call for the abolition of the death penalty. Not only do I support them, but I also offer encouragement to all those who are convinced that a just and necessary punishment must never exclude the dimension of hope and the goal of rehabilitation.

‘In these times when social concerns are so important, I cannot fail to mention the Servant of God Dorothy Day, who founded the Catholic Worker Movement. Her social activism, her passion for justice and for the cause of the oppressed, were inspired by the Gospel, her faith, and the example of the saints.

‘How much progress has been made in this area in so many parts of the world! How much has been done in these first years of the third millennium to raise people out of extreme poverty! I know that you share my conviction that much more still needs to be done, and that in times of crisis and economic hardship a spirit of global solidarity must not be lost. At the same time I would encourage you to keep in mind all those people around us who are trapped in a cycle of poverty. They too need to be given hope. The fight against poverty and hunger must be fought constantly and on many fronts, especially in its causes. I know that many Americans today, as in the past, are working to deal with this problem.

‘It goes without saying that part of this great effort is the creation and distribution of wealth. The right use of natural resources, the proper application of technology and the harnessing of the spirit of enterprise are essential elements of an economy which seeks to be modern, inclusive and sustainable. “Business is a noble vocation, directed to producing wealth and improving the world. It can be a fruitful source of prosperity for the area in which it operates, especially if it sees the creation of jobs as an essential part of its service to the common good” (Laudato Si’, 129). This common good also includes the earth, a central theme of the encyclical which I recently wrote in order to “enter into dialogue with all people about our common home” (ibid., 3). “We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all” (ibid., 14).

‘In Laudato Si’, I call for a courageous and responsible effort to “redirect our steps” (ibid., 61), and to avert the most serious effects of the environmental deterioration caused by human activity. I am convinced that we can make a difference and I have no doubt that the United States – and this Congress – have an important role to play. Now is the time for courageous actions and strategies, aimed at implementing a “culture of care” (ibid., 231) and “an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the excluded, and at the same time protecting nature” (ibid., 139). “We have the freedom needed to limit and direct technology” (ibid., 112); “to devise intelligent ways of… developing and limiting our power” (ibid., 78); and to put technology “at the service of another type of progress, one which is healthier, more human, more social, more integral” (ibid., 112). In this regard, I am confident that America’s outstanding academic and research institutions can make a vital contribution in the years ahead.

‘A century ago, at the beginning of the Great War, which Pope Benedict XV termed a “pointless slaughter,” another notable American was born: the Cistercian monk Thomas Merton. He remains a source of spiritual inspiration and a guide for many people. In his autobiography he wrote: “I came into the world. Free by nature, in the image of God, I was nevertheless the prisoner of my own violence and my own selfishness, in the image of the world into which I was born. That world was the picture of Hell, full of men like myself, loving God, and yet hating him; born to love him, living instead in fear of hopeless self-contradictory hungers.” Merton was above all a man of prayer, a thinker who challenged the certitudes of his time and opened new horizons for souls and for the Church. He was also a man of dialogue, a promoter of peace between peoples and religions.

‘From this perspective of dialogue, I would like to recognize the efforts made in recent months to help overcome historic differences linked to painful episodes of the past. It is my duty to build bridges and to help all men and women, in any way possible, to do the same. When countries which have been at odds resume the path of dialogue – a dialogue which may have been interrupted for the most legitimate of reasons – new opportunities open up for all. This has required, and requires, courage and daring, which is not the same as irresponsibility. A good political leader is one who, with the interests of all in mind, seizes the moment in a spirit of openness and pragmatism. A good political leader always opts to initiate processes rather than possessing spaces (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 222-223).

‘Being at the service of dialogue and peace also means being truly determined to minimize and, in the long term, to end the many armed conflicts throughout our world. Here we have to ask ourselves: Why are deadly weapons being sold to those who plan to inflict untold suffering on individuals and society? Sadly, the answer, as we all know, is simply for money: money that is drenched in blood, often innocent blood. In the face of this shameful and culpable silence, it is our duty to confront the problem and to stop the arms trade.

‘Three sons and a daughter of this land, four individuals and four dreams: Lincoln, liberty; Martin Luther King, liberty in plurality and non-exclusion; Dorothy Day, social justice and the rights of persons; and Thomas Merton, the capacity for dialogue and openness to God.

‘Four representatives of the American people.

‘I will end my visit to your country in Philadelphia, where I will take part in the World Meeting of Families. It is my wish that throughout my visit the family should be a recurrent theme. How essential the family has been to the building of this country! And how worthy it remains of our support and encouragement! Yet I cannot hide my concern for the family, which is threatened, perhaps as never before, from within and without. Fundamental relationships are being called into question, as is the very basis of marriage and the family. I can only reiterate the importance and, above all, the richness and the beauty of family life.

‘In particular, I would like to call attention to those family members who are the most vulnerable, the young. For many of them, a future filled with countless possibilities beckons, yet so many others seem disoriented and aimless, trapped in a hopeless maze of violence, abuse and despair. Their problems are our problems. We cannot avoid them. We need to face them together, to talk about them and to seek effective solutions rather than getting bogged down in discussions. At the risk of oversimplifying, we might say that we live in a culture which pressures young people not to start a family, because they lack possibilities for the future. Yet this same culture presents others with so many options that they too are dissuaded from starting a family.

‘A nation can be considered great when it defends liberty as Lincoln did, when it fosters a culture which enables people to “dream” of full rights for all their brothers and sisters, as Martin Luther King sought to do; when it strives for justice and the cause of the oppressed, as Dorothy Day did by her tireless work, the fruit of a faith which becomes dialogue and sows peace in the contemplative style of Thomas Merton.

‘In these remarks I have sought to present some of the richness of your cultural heritage, of the spirit of the American people. It is my desire that this spirit continue to develop and grow, so that as many young people as possible can inherit and dwell in a land which has inspired so many people to dream.

‘God bless America!’




Claim: California Drought Caused By Geoengineering

REDDING (CBS13) — There is a growing, underground movement of people who believe California’s drought is part of a government conspiracy instead of a naturally occurring event from a lack of rain during the last four years.

The movement’s leader, Dane Wigington, says he’s putting his life on the line to reveal a truth that will shake society to its core.

From the outside, it’s clear the hundreds showing up beat to a different drum. But stepping inside a packed Redding auditorium is like walking into another world. Outlandish ideas like weather warfare and climate engineering—in other words, weather control—are accepted as basic fact.

“Climate engineering is the single greatest assault on the environment ever launched by humanity, without question,” he said.

Wigington, the lead researcher for GeoEngineering Watch, is sounding the alarm.

“It’s a responsibility—it’s not an option, it’s an obligation,” he said.

He claims grainy, shaky video is part of a mountain of evidence showing shadowy government forces are using planes to secretly spray fine particles of heavy metals like aluminum into the sky. The purpose, they believe, is to block some of the sun’s direct rays from reaching the earth in a desperate attempt to slow global warming.

“The list of corroborating material we have is immense, including lab tests that prove the same elements named in geoengineering patents—aluminum, barium, and other heavy metals are raining down on us in massive quantities,” he said.

If you’re skeptical, this won’t help—he claims the spraying is happening off the coast of California comes with an incredibly serious side effect. The heavy metal particles are blocking rainfall, effectively steering California’s somewhere else.

In other words, climate engineering, they say, is to blame for the harshest recorded drought in California’s history.

“Nobody has a right to do this. Nobody has a right to play God with the weather,” he said.

REPORTER: You’re talking about weather control.

WIGINGTON: Yes, we are.

REPORTER: You know that sounds crazy. To an outsider, this sounds impossible; it sounds like science fiction.

WIGINGTON: You can’t interfere with the climate system, putting aerosols, fine particles into the atmosphere without affecting the rain, can’t do it.

REPORTER: What you’re saying is, that this drought is being directly caused?

WIGINGTON: There’s no question. The connection is inarguable.

Kyaw Tha Paw U is a UC Davis professor of atmospheric science and biometeorology with degrees from MIT and Yale.

“I would find it more likely—I’m not saying it’s actually happening—but it’s more likely there are extraterrestrial visits to the Earth (laughs) than this kind of thing happening,” he said. “I don’t know anyone in my field who believes that.”

The idea of climate engineering is out there, but actually doing it is another matter, he says. Civilian planes and most military aircraft can’t fly high enough to even make it feasible. He says the contrails people see behind planes are essentially ice clouds forming and is perfectly normal.

“It’s just a natural occurrence of combustion; water’s one of the byproducts of combustion,” he said.

The video from Wigington appears to show a spray between the contrails. The professor says it looks like a rare issue involving pressure variations that causes a trial to form behind the wing and not just the engines’ exhausts.

But Wigington is used to skeptics. He once was one.

“Talk is cheap for those who haven’t investigated. I didn’t want to believe this either,” he said.

His background is in solar power, but he started investigating on his own about a decade ago after becoming suspicious. that something was partially blocking the sun’s energy from reaching his solar home.

He decided to go public.

“I can’t not do this. It’s the last thing I ever wanted to do. I’m not a political person, I’m not an activist, I’m simply a father that wants his children to have a future,” he said.

His group is gaining more attention. More than 1,000 people showed up in Redding from across the country. The panel included a former California Fish and Game biologist, a former U.S. Forest Service biologist and a U.S. Navy veteran.

“I’ve spoken to NOAA scientists face-to-face who’ve told me off the record they know this is going on, but they’re afraid to speak out because they have no First Amendment protection. I’ve been it the field with USDA soil scientists, same. I’ve been told by congressional representatives, same,” he said.

The underground movement has more than its share of critics, including scientists who dismiss the weather control claims as pseudoscience and conspiracy theory talk without reliable evidence.

“The negative things we like to find reasons for, and conspiracy theories are one of the ways to try and find a reason for it, when we don’t fully understand what’s going on,” Kyaw Tha Paw U said.

Wigington is 100 percent certain climate engineering is happening and is causing California’s drought.

The truth, he says, will cause a global shockwave.

“The data backs this up; I’ve already bet my life on this fact and again, those who doubt this is going on, those who want to deny, those protecting their paychecks and pensions by denying it will not be able to much longer. The damage is too cataclysmic. There will be no hiding this issue much longer,” he said.

Read the full story here…




2015 Emmys Features Green Ribbons to Highlight Climate Change

The most notable accessory on the red carpet at the 2015 Emmys on Sunday night wasn’t a diamond necklace or stack of shiny bracelets. Instead, several stars sported green ribbons to call attention to climate change.

As tweeted by the National Resources Defense Council, the green ribbons worn by celebrities like Transparentstar Jeffrey Tambor were part of the #DemandClimateAction campaign, which calls on world leaders to directly address climate change, including “a new universal legal agreement” between countries committing to a “low-carbon future.”

The United Nations Conference on Climate Change is set to take place in December, and world leaders and organizations have already begun discussing plans and proposals to address the problem (even the pope has entered the climate change conversation). U.S. President Barack Obama and China’s President Xi Jinping, for example, are both pushing for the universal agreement cited by the National Resources Defense Council.

Now celebs are making their stand known through green ribbons, including Jeffrey Tambor and George R. R. Martin, among others.

Read full article here…




Is Climate Change a Matter Of Mental Health?

In early August, as a freakish hailstorm ripped through her Deering neighborhood, Jeanne Paterak pulled out her smartphone and shot some video of the hail – which meteorologists later said were pingpong-ball sized – as it pounded her yard and piled up on her patio. She and her two children were enthralled, although she was worried about her friend’s new Honda parked in the driveway.

After the worst of the storm had played itself out, she took a quick look at the urban “mini-farm” on her family’s half-acre plot. There were peaches and pears on the ground and the pumpkins had been treated nearly as roughly as if a crew of disaffected Halloween trick-or-treaters had stomped through the patch. Maybe the bruised and beaten tomatoes would rebound.

She didn’t visit the garden until late in the next day, only venturing out after her husband came in and reported that it looked awful. Two of the solar hot water tubes on their roof were broken, 85 percent of the tomatoes and 70 percent of the fruit ruined, many of their row crops damaged.

As many of us are wont to do when we’re feeling sad, mad or bad, Paterak Googled. She was disappointed that news coverage of the hail didn’t include any mention of the big picture; it seemed to her that such a sudden and

extreme weather phenomenon had to be associated with climate change. Meteorologists had noted that such violent hail was unusual in Portland, where the cooler, stable air coming off the ocean doesn’t customarily produce the kind of conditions that create hail. But Rolling Stone had coincidentally published a story that day, titled “The Point of No Return: Climate Change Nightmares Are Already Here.”

When you’re feeling sad, mad or bad, reading about deadly heat waves in Pakistan and India, or flaming rain forests in Washington state, or the epic El Niño on the way is not a pick-me-up. It might provide comforting perspective if these places were, say, on another planet. Meanwhile Paterak noted that in Maine, a violent hailstorm had all but wiped out the apple crop at the University of Maine’s research farm in Monmouth as well as extensively damaging an orchard in Manchester.

Was this kind of punishing hailstorm the new normal, Paterak wondered? She didn’t exactly take to her bed – there was a garden to clean up after all – but she did feel a sense of despair. Was her family, with their efforts to be self-sustaining, their one (energy-efficient) car, their bike riding, their passion for canning and freezing those tomatoes, building toward resiliency or is climate change too much of a Big Bad to fight off with Priuses and homegrown peaches?

“The hardest part is juggling the worry with that sense that you’ve got to just keep doing what you can do,” Paterak said a month after the storm.

LIKE A FREIGHT TRAIN

Mankind has faced fearful end-of-days challenges throughout time, from the black plague right up through the threat of nuclear war that had schoolchildren ducking and covering under their desks in the 1950s. Climate change is different in that fixes such as a medical cure or a negotiated desire for peace aren’t available. Its parameters are slippery, hard to see.

The problem is daunting. And wearing. Particularly for those who have devoted their working lives to either studying its impacts or trying to stave them off.

“We need to have forums to talk about this,” said Cathy Ramsdell, executive director of Friends of Casco Bay. For too long, she said, it has felt “taboo as a topic, to say climate disruption and the fate of our planet and our role is getting to me today.”

“Maybe there is something to be said about just admitting how this feels,” she added.

What does it feel like? “I call it the freight train coming straight at us.”

Climate change is something Ramsdell has conversations about all the time, whether in a staff meeting at the marine stewardship’s offices or a conference or a dinner party. Then there is the latest news: those wildfires in California or typhoons hitting Japan, which in her opinion have to be attributed at least in part to climate change. It’s not just looming, it is here, here in the waters of the Gulf of Maine, warming faster than 99 percent of the world’s largest bodies of saltwater.

Sometimes – no, often – Ramsdell said she has to turn the conversation off, to turn to her workmate or dinner companion and joke, “Can we start talking about puppies and rainbows now? Because I need to feel better.”

She, like many environmentalists worldwide, has her hopes pinned on key dates. From Nov. 30 to Dec. 11, world leaders will gather for the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris and the agenda is huge: to come to universal agreement on climate from all of the nations in the world, and not just an understanding, but a legally binding agreement. “There’s a lot riding on the talks,” she said, admitting that if they don’t go well, she’ll be anguished.

In 2011, the American Psychological Association published a report on psychology and global climate change, taking a look at the issue from a multi-dimensional approach, including perceptions of the climate change and the propensity of some to deny what a reported 97 percent of the world’s scientists believe: The planet is warming, ice is melting, seas are rising and human beings and their waste have created an environmental crisis that is only worsening with time.

“Even individuals whose economic livelihood depends on weather and climate events (e.g. farmers or fishers) might not receive sufficient feedback from their daily or yearly personal experience to be alarmed about global warming,” the report said.

But surveys conducted in Alaska and Florida, two states where residents have had direct experience with climate change-driven changes (think melting ice and more forceful hurricanes), found “that such exposure greatly increases their concern and willingness to take action.”

In other words, if people can’t see it for themselves, they have a hard time believing it. Or doing anything about it. In sociological terms, this is known as Giddens’ paradox, named for British sociologist Anthony Giddens, who published a book on the politics of climate change in 2009. He posited the paradox that “since the dangers posed by global warming aren’t tangible, immediate or visible, in the course of day-to-day life, however awesome they appear, many will sit on their hands and do nothing.”

Mainers aren’t particularly inclined to do nothing, and a study by three UMaine professors on environment and values from the summer of 2010 found a clear majority of residents are concerned about the effect of global warming on Maine (67 percent) while only about 17 percent said they weren’t concerned (the rest were unsure). As a state, we were more worried than our fellow Americans. Nationally in that same year, a Pew Research Center poll found that 63 percent of Americans were concerned about climate change. In 2015, Pew found that percentage had risen to 69 percent.

Paterak is hardly a former denier who has been converted by an August hailstorm, an event which seemed extreme but can’t be directly connected with global warming. She is an educated believer in climate change who has been actively doing what she can, in a way that may seem small in the grander scheme of things but which is large within her own life. She’s willing to take action, but after that hailstorm, she found herself in what could be described as a heightened state of anxiety about climate change.

The American Psychological Association report covered this topic as well, addressing the mental health impacts of actual and perceived climate change. As world temperatures go up, rates of violence are expected to go up. Even the threat of climate change creates emotional distress and anxiety, researchers found.

With that comes fear, despair, a sense of being overwhelmed or powerless. From there, the path diverges. For some, being overwhelmed inhibits “thought and action” and the next step is denial, paralysis, apathy.

Based on historical responses to incidences of drought, heat waves as well as extreme weather and natural disasters, the report postulated that, for others, despair can lead to anxiety disorders, depression, sleeping disorders, drug and alcohol abuse, increasing vulnerability for those who already have severe mental health issues and even higher rates of suicide attempts. Studies of Australian farmers’ responses to drought conditions contributed to the suicide findings.

Plenty of people might dismiss anxiety as needless worrying, but as the American Psychological Association report on climate change puts it, “In clinical terms, anxiety is a future-oriented mood state associated with a sense that events are proceeding in an unpredictable, uncontrollable fashion.”

The principal function of worry, it goes on to say, “is to prepare to cope with future threats.”

CLIMATE INSECURITY

Skowhegan counselor Bob McLaughlin has been in Maine since the 1960s, working on issues such as poverty and domestic violence. About three years ago, a new mental health issue came up in his practice for the first time: climate insecurity. “That’s the sweeping term I use,” McLaughlin said. The parallel would be food insecurity, which refers to not knowing where one’s next meal is coming from.

His first encounter was with a client who was suffering from true discouragement about climate change, which in turn brought out issues of traumatic stresses in the person’s past, going all the way back to college. The client had been able to cope with this trauma for many years, but stresses related to climate change had simply pushed this person over the edge, to the point where social and professional functioning was in jeopardy.

Climate insecurity is “on the radar of a larger and larger percentage of people I see,” McLaughlin said. He starts by making sure they understand that they are not alone, that this is a mental health issue that is already affecting many people and will affect more and more as the years go on – short of a miracle whereby climate change is stopped. And he would encourage anyone suffering from this fear that comes with feeling unsafe in the larger world to engage in the kind of communal work that Ramsdell does, that is, efforts toward sustainability. Or what Paterak, in her own small way, is already doing.

“Action is a critical element of maintaining mental health when confronted by a threat,” McLaughlin said.

In addition to his counseling practice, he is field program director for climate change at The Running Start Institute, where he is creating a working group to help a range of professionals, including emergency responders and mental health counselors, understand what lies ahead as more and more people experience climate insecurity. Community is, as he points out, one of Maine’s major resources.

GLASS HALF-FULL

So, too, is hope.

“Many people feel despair about many things in the world and climate change is one of them,” said David Hart, the director of the George J. Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions at UMaine. “But there are really outstanding researchers and public intellectuals that would probably make the case that there are opportunities with climate change. All you have to do is think about Maine and its agriculture. We are going to have a longer growing season.” Heating bills might drop, he added. But the point is, no one knows “what the net is going to be.”

He wouldn’t try to talk anyone out of feeling hopeless about climate change. “I am not sure I would do much more than listen to them,” Hart said.

A book that particularly appeals to him is “The Big Ratchet” by MacArthur “genius” award winner Ruth DeFries. Published in 2014, her book looks at the way humans have throughout time encountered enormous problems – some created by mankind – and then found a solution, sometimes as a result of an accident, sometimes as a result of ingenuity. DeFries is cautiously optimistic that the same thing can happen with climate change, although she doesn’t downplay the risks humanity is facing now.

UMaine, with its Climate Change Institute, is a hotbed for these kinds of conversations and for explorations of not just attitudes toward climate change, but solutions. Paul Roscoe, an anthropologist who teaches a course called Human Dimensions of Climate Change, believes that persuading a highly materialistic nation like the United States to dial back on its thirst for material consumption is a key weapon in combating climate change.

“Consumption is the main driver of climate change, more than population growth,” Roscoe said. “We are just consuming phenomenal amounts in the Western world.” He’s captivated by research that shows a sort of happiness tipping point for people income-wise – namely that after earning around $80,000, happiness doesn’t increase. “You find those downshifters tend to be happier than the folks that are caught in the rat race.”

People who feel they are part of a communal effort are happier as well. Cindy Isenhour, an assistant professor of anthropology who works with the university’s Climate Change Institute, said the focus of the environmentalist movement in the United States has taken primarily a sort of “vote by your pocketbook,” individualist’s approach to push change through the marketplace.

As a result, participants “often feel like they are bearing the burden for the environmental movement.” Her dissertation focused on Sweden, where a more communal, civic approach makes it easier to sustain efforts. There she found what she felt was an exception to Giddens’ paradox; people who felt relatively safe in Sweden from the major effects of climate change but who were not sitting on their hands. Why? They had a global outlook and worried about the rest of the world.

Mainers could be like those Swedes. This is a state where the movement toward local food – a key indicator of sustainability efforts – is growing by leaps and bounds. We may not have to worry much about typhoons and we may get a few more weeks of growing season. But we can still set examples for combating climate change. Isenhour’s latest research in Maine focuses on materials management, specifically the re-use market. “I have been amazed by how vibrant the re-use economy is,” she said. Meaning trade at pawn shops, flea markets and thrift stores. “I’ve never seen anything like it anywhere.”

“It has more potential than recycling,” Isenhour added. There’s no mechanical or financial input involved for instance; nothing needs to be converted at a factory or a plant. And re-use fits with Maine’s “spotty” economy. “It really fostered an economy based on local provision because this isn’t the kind of place where people could really afford to buy new.”

It’s also the kind of place where people have a tendency to keep on keeping on.

On July 28, just a few days before the hailstorm that hit Paterak’s home in Portland, another intense storm unleashed its power on Misty Brook Farm in Albion, ripping the roofs off two barns. The rain came sideways, the wind blew at 70 miles per hour. The animals freaked out, and more than 70 of Brendan and Katia Holmes’ chickens died in the field. The farm lost about $36,000 in produce and another $15,000 in grain crops in one fell swoop.

Within a few days, Maine Farmland Trust responded by creating a disaster relief fund, using $10,000 of its seed money and soliciting donations in expectation of future damage to farms around the state, whether from fire or extreme weather. Expectations of more extreme weather caused by climate change was one of the factors the trust considered in establishing the fund.

Did the Holmeses think about climate change? Not so much.

“It is great that scientists are trying to figure it out,” said Katia Holmes. “I think we are seeing different weather than we did 20 or 30 years ago. But as a farmer, I am just constantly trying to adapt to what is given to me. You can’t really change the weather. You have to just take what you can get.”

And, she said, “make the best of it.”

Read full story here…




Scientists Demand Prosecution For Global Warming Skeptics

TN Note: This appears to be a followup to Al Gore’s claim earlier this year that climate change skeptics are “deniers” and deserve to be “punished”.

The science on global warming is settled, so settled that 20 climate scientists are asking President Barack Obama to prosecute people who disagree with them on the science behind man-made global warming.

Scientists from several universities and research centers even asked Obama to use the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) to prosecute groups that “have knowingly deceived the American people about the risks of climate change, as a means to forestall America’s response to climate change.”

RICO was a law designed to take down organized crime syndicates, but scientists now want it to be used against scientists, activists and organizations that voice their disagreement with the so-called “consensus” on global warming. The scientists repeated claims made by environmentalists that groups, especially those with ties to fossil fuels, have engaged in a misinformation campaign to confuse the public on global warming.

“The actions of these organizations have been extensively documented in peer-reviewed academic research and in recent books,” the scientists wrote.

Read full article here… 




Encyclical: Pope Francis Speaks Technocracy

Pope Francis recently released his promised Encyclical Letter on Climate Change titled, Laudato Si’ of the Holy Father Francis On Care For Our Common Homewhich specifically seeks to influence the outcome of the United Nations Climate Change Conference to be held from November 30 through December 11 in Paris.

The exact purpose of the Summit is to “achieve, for the first time in over 20 years of UN negotiations, a binding and universal agreement on climate, from all the nations of the world.(1)” [Emphasis added] In fact, this is the most important convention ever held by the U.N., intending to cement Sustainable Development and Agenda 21 policies into place all over the world.

Pope Francis’ contribution to the global consensus is only 98 pages long, but it is a pithy call for Sustainable Development and global governance to enforce it. He sees the United Nations as the clear choice to promote both.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change has set up a special news site to track ongoing developments. The following statement appears on the home page:

These new front pages and focus sections capture news of climate change and stories about the groundswell of climate action by governments, companies, cities, the UN and civil society around the globe.

The Pope’s analysis of the current status quo, as most damaging to the ecology, is that technocracy is mostly to blame. He writes in Paragraph 194, for instance,

It (talk of sustainable growth) absorbs the language and values of ecology into the categories of finance and technocracy, and the social and environmental responsibility of businesses often gets reduced to a series of marketing and image-enhancing measures.

In the next paragraph, he proposes the orthodox U.N. position of the “green economy”:

The principle of the maximization of profits, frequently isolated from other considerations, reflects a misunderstanding of the very concept of the economy. As long as production is increased, little concern is given to whether it is at the cost of future resources or the health of the environment; as long as the clearing of a forest increases production, no one calculates the losses entailed in the desertification of the land, the harm done to biodiversity or the increased pollution. In a word, businesses profit by calculating and paying only a fraction of the costs involved. Yet only when “the economic and social costs of using up shared environmental resources are recognized with transparency and fully borne by those who incur them, not by other peoples or future generations”, can those actions be considered ethical.

In earlier paragraphs, the Pope opines about “a technocracy which sees no intrinsic value in lesser beings coexists with the other extreme, which sees no special value in human beings.”  He further stated, “Politics must not be subject to the economy, nor should the economy be subject to the dictates of an efficiency-driven paradigm of technocracy.

Are you confused by his positioning of the word technocracy yet? Well, you should be!

While the Pope rails against the “efficiencies” and cold-heartedness of technocracy, he recommends running straight into the arms of Technocracy, which is the very heart of Climate-Change, Sustainable Development and Agenda 21. (For a full discussion of Technocracy and its relationship to these topics, please refer to Technocracy Rising: The Trojan Horse of Global Transformation by this writer)

This is most clearly seen in this statement from Paragraph 111: “Liberation from the dominant technocratic paradigm does in fact happen sometimes, for example, when cooperatives of small producers adopt less polluting means of production, and opt for a non-consumerist model of life, recreation and community.”

Pope Francis’ chief science advisor, who is largely responsible for the crafting of this Encyclical, is Hans Schellnhuber, who is a pantheist (a form of atheism). Schellinhuber believes in Gaia, or Mother Earth, as being a living, self-aware and self-regulating organism to which man is responsible. This is a polar opposite position of the traditional Catholic belief that God gave the earth to man for his sustenance and enjoyment.

If it was indeed Schellnhuber who introduced the concepts of technocracy and technocratic paradigm into the Encyclical, then he has done the Pope a great disservice, painting him to be ignorant of history and ignorant of the current nature of Sustainable Development. On the other hand, Schellnhuber has identified himself as a master of dis-information against this author who is trying to expose the historical and modern tyranny associated with Technocracy.

Whatever Schellnhuber’s intent, it is interesting to note that he did indeed write about technocracy at the same time when the only recently published book on technocracy and Technocracy is this author’s work, Technocracy Rising.

Endnotes:

1. “Issues and reasons behind the French offer to host the 21st Conference of the Parties on Climate Change 2015”. Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 22 May 2013. Retrieved31 January 2014.