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Pope Francis

Jerry Brown gushes about "fighting climate change" at Vatican as he fracks California

By Dan Bacher - Daily Kos, July 21, 2015

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

In yet another carefully choreographed photo opportunity to tout his "green" image while he promotes the expansion of fracking, Governor Jerry Brown today urged the world's mayors to "light a fire" and "join California in the fight against climate change."

Brown was speaking on the first day of the Vatican's symposium on climate change and modern slavery hosted by the Pontifical Academies of Sciences and Social Sciences.

"We have fierce opposition and blind inertia," Brown claimed. "And that opposition is well-financed, hundreds of millions of dollars going into propaganda, into falsifying the scientific record, bamboozling people of every country. We have to fight that propaganda and overcome the inertia and the tremendous opposition."

"Mayors, you are at the bottom of this power chain and you have got to light a fire. We have to join together. We have to make a change. It's up to us to make it happen," Brown said.

Without a hint of irony, Brown also gushed about the "interconnectedness of all beings" as his administration rushes the construction of the Delta tunnels, potentially the most environmentally destructive public works project in California history, and presides over water policies that have brought winter run Chinook salmon, Central Valley steelhead, Delta and longfin smelt and Sacramento splittail to the brink of extinction.

"The role of nature, the interconnectedness of all beings, these are ideas that while implicit, have never been so clear as they have been made in this encyclical," stated Brown.

The Vatican's symposium aims to drive awareness, dialogue and action at the local level on climate change and modern slavery – two interconnected issues highlighted in the pope's recent encyclical, according to an announcement from the Governor's Office.

Governor Brown will address the symposium again during tomorrow's program.

You can expect the mainstream media and some corporate "environmental" groups to gush over Brown's grandstanding at the Vatican with little critical analysis of the Governor's actual environmental record, a toxic legacy that I have documented in article after article.

Fortunately, faith leaders from Brown’s home state and environmental experts introduced a critical note to the narrative about Brown's visit to the Vatican when they commended the Pope for his leadership and urged him to take this opportunity to call on Brown and other leaders to ban fracking and take every possible measure to protect "our climate."

“We in the faith community applaud Pope Francis for highlighting the moral imperative of addressing climate change and protecting creation, and appreciate that he is bringing leaders like Jerry Brown to the Vatican to highlight the issue,” said Rev. Ambrose Carroll, a senior pastor at the Church by the Side of Road in Oakland, Calif., and a member of Faith Against Fracking. “We hope he will be able to get Governor Brown to see the indisputable incompatibility of his attempts to fight climate change while enabling the worst climate polluters to continue fracking.”

Feminism and the Politics of “Our Common Home”

By Greg Williams - Capitalism vs. the Climate, July 15, 2015

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

“[A] feminist perspective on the commons is important because it begins with the realization that, as the primary subjects of reproductive work, historically and in our time, women have depended on access to communal natural resources more than men and have been most penalized by their privatization and most committed to their defense.”
– Silvia Federici, “Feminism and the Politics of the Commons”

“If Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ of God, cannot be an option for Gays and Lesbians, then he cannot be an option.”
– M. Shawn Copeland, “Enfleshing Freedom: Body, Race, and Being”

If my Facebook wall is any indication, both the Christian Left and the environmental movement are practically glowing with enthusiasm for Pope Francis’s recent encyclical, Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home. Quotes from it are ubiquitous, faith leaders are instructing their followers to read it, and even secular environmentalists are convinced that it is one of the most important documents in recent memory. celebrated the encyclical, saying that it “reinforces the tectonic shift that is happening, we simply cannot continue to treat the Earth as a tool for exploitation.” Even the significantly more left-wing official page of Javier Sethness-Castro’s book Imperiled Life: Revolution Against Climate Catastrophe has been posting excerpts.

Not all of this praise is unwarranted; after all, there is much in Laudato Si’ that acknowledges what environmental justice advocates have been saying for a long time. Instead of viewing climate change as a “single issue” and suggesting a set of policy approaches, Francis acknowledges that “neglecting to monitor the harm done to nature and the environmental impact of our decisions is only the most striking sign of a disregard for the message contained in the structures of nature itself” (#117), and that “every ecological approach needs to incorporate a social perspective which takes into account the fundamental rights of the poor and the underprivileged” (#93). In short, the encyclical embraces the perspective that environmental justice lies at the intersection of colonialism – the extractive relationship that exists between organized money and stolen land – and capitalism – the exploitative relationship that exists between organized money and stolen labor, and that any meaningful solution to the changing climate will involve changing these social and economic systems. “Today,” writes Francis, “we have to realize that a true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor” (#49).

In spite of this, I must confess to being somewhat taken aback by the uncritical endorsement that self-identified radicals and progressives have given Laudato Si’. For starters, none of the rave reviews that I have seen even attempt to grapple with the hardline anti-abortion stance that the pope takes in the encyclical:

 Since everything is interrelated, concern for the protection of nature is also incompatible with the justification of abortion. How can we genuinely teach the importance of concern for other valuable beings, however troublesome or inconvenient they may be, if we fail to protect a human embryo, even when its presence is uncomfortable and creates difficulty? (#120)

It is altogether quite shocking that this passage, which reaffirms the papacy’s staunch opposition to women’s right to reproductive choice, should go completely unmentioned by environmentalists like those at who claim to be part of the Left, and therefore implicitly committed to women’s rights as human rights.

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