Pope Francis is speaking out against climate-change deniers in the wake of Harvey and Irma, two megastorms that were thought to be exacerbated by global warming.
"Those who deny this must go to the scientists and ask them. They speak very clearly," he told an Italian journalist earlier this week. "These aren’t opinions pulled out of thin air. They are very clear."
This isn't the first time to progressive pope has spoken up as an unexpected environmentalist. In 2015, he published an encyclical on climate change imploring the Catholic Church to become more involved in the climate conversation, calling Earth "a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us." It emphasizes the idea that the threats from global warming, like volatile farming conditions and intense storms, will disproportionately affect developing countries. "Greater attention must be given to the needs of the poor, the weak and the vulnerable, in a debate often dominated by more powerful interests," he wrote. He has since passed along the manifesto to environmental thought leaders like Leonardo DiCaprio during his trip to the Vatican, as well as to visitors who could probably stand another reading of it, such as President Trump.
He sees the natural disasters of recent weeks as reminders of our moral responsibility to take action to protect the planet. When the journalist asked him about his thoughts on climate-change deniers, he responded with an Old Testament saying: "Man is stupid." He also warned that, "History will judge those decisions."
"When you don’t want to see, you don’t see," he finished. May his words be a reminder that we all need to open our eyes to the problems around us and take action.
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