June, 2017

On June 1st, President Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Paris Accords and set us on a path of catastrophic climate change that could bring unimaginable extreme weather, rising sea levels, extinctions, famine, mass displacement, countless wars and death. This insanity must be resisted nonviolently. That is the only sane, Christian and human response.

My friend environmentalist Bill McKibben called it “a stupid and reckless decision,” in his New York Times editorial, “our nation’s dumbest act since launching the war in Iraq. But it’s not stupid and reckless in the normal way,” he continued. “Instead, it amounts to a thorough repudiation of two of the civilizing forces on our planet: diplomacy and science. It undercuts our civilization’s chances of surviving global warming, but it also undercuts our civilization itself, since that civilization rests in large measure on those two forces.”

“2014 set a new global temperature record, which was smashed in 2015 and smashed again in 2016,” Bill writes. “We’ve watched Arctic sea ice vanish at a record pace and measured the early disintegration of Antarctica’s great ice sheets. We’ve been able to record alarming increases in drought and flood and wildfire, and we’ve been able to link them directly to the greenhouse gases we’ve poured into the atmosphere. This is the largest-scale example in the planet’s history of the scientific method in operation, the continuing dialectic between hypothesis and skepticism that arrived eventually at a strong consensus about the most critical aspects of our planet’s maintenance. Rational people the world around understand.”

President Trump is a liar, a narcissistic sociopath and insane, I believe, and the Republican party has become a dangerous, life-threatening force for greed, weapons, war and destruction. Not only have they repudiated the science—and the evidence of global warming, they have dismissed the historic diplomacy that led to the Paris Accords.
“The Paris accord was a high achievement of the diplomatic art,” Bill writes, signed by 195 nations. “The hope of Paris was that the treaty would send such a strong signal to the world’s governments, and its capital markets, that the targets would become a floor and not a ceiling; that shaken into action by the accord, we would start moving much faster toward renewable energy, maybe even fast enough to begin catching up with the physics of global warming. There are signs that this has been happening: The plummeting price of solar energy just this spring persuaded India to forgo a huge planned expansion of coal plants in favor of more solar panel arrays to catch the sun. China is shutting coal mines as fast as it can build wind turbines.

“And that’s precisely the moment President Trump chose to make his move, a bid to undercut our best hope for a workable future in a bizarre attempt to restore the past. A few fossil-fuel barons may be pleased, but most of the country and the world see this for the disaster it is.

“And so,” Bill McKibben concludes, “we will resist. As the federal government reneges on its commitments, the rest of us will double down on ours. Already cities and states are committing to 100 percent renewable energy. Atlanta was the latest to take the step. We will make sure that every leader who hesitates and waffles on climate will be seen as another Donald Trump, and we will make sure that history will judge that name with the contempt it deserves. Not just because he didn’t take climate change seriously, but also because he didn’t take civilization seriously.”

One way to step up your resistance is to join Campaign Nonviolence, help organize an action in your community during the September national week of action, pursue your city as a “Nonviolent City,” or contribute to grassroots groups working for justice, peace and the environment. And let’s beg the Creator for the gift of sanity, for global nonviolent resistance to President Trump’s path of destruction, and humanity steadfast solidarity with Mother Earth, her creatures, the poor and future generations. May we all do our part to protect creation and become peacemakers. God bless you all.

–Fr. John