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Letter: Inspired by Pope Francis

Thomas E. Rutledge
Glenwood Springs

When Jorge Bergoglio, a Jesuit priest from Argentina, was named pope and I found out he studied chemistry, I felt a close tie. I, too, was Jesuit-educated and studied chemistry. If there was one directive the Jesuits taught me, it was the relentless search for truth, both in my Catholic faith and in my studies.

It is that constant merging of faith and reason that I so admire about the Jesuits. I see that the constant search for truth has propelled Pope Francis to write a papal encyclical on climate change and environmental degradation. A Papal encyclical is a letter treating some aspect of Catholic teaching. This particular encyclical, Laudato Si (Praise be to you), is addressed to all people in the world and is focused on caring for our common home, Earth.

“Numerous scientific studies indicate that the greater part of the global warming in recent decades is due to the great concentration of greenhouse gases,” cites Pope Francis. Faith teaches us that the Earth is a gift from God while scientists via NASA’s Kepler group scan the universe for planets that have the correct size and distance from their suns to have the possibility of life. Faith and science tell us that the Earth is unique.

The search for truth leads me to agree that we are facing an ecological breakdown based on a lifestyle that consumes fossil fuels without any regard to their impact on our unique planet. It is not just the fuels consumed in our vehicles; nearly every product purchased has a carbon footprint. The Citizens Climate Lobby (https://citizensclimatelobby.org) is working toward a market solution that:

1) Places a steadily rising fee on the CO2 content of fossil fuels.

2) Gives all of the revenue from the carbon fee back to households.

3) Adjusts U.S. border fees to discourage businesses from relocating.

This business case is good for the economy and even better for the climate. Join the Citizens Climate Lobby and Pope Francis as we transform ourselves and lessen the impact of fossil fuels on our unique gift, Earth.


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