Don Corrigan serves up his weekly opinion about who deserves a dagger for being a foe to the environment and who deserves a daisy for being a friend of the environment.
This week: The Pope and Steve Bannon
Daisies to Pope Francis and the Vatican, which recently sponsored the scientific conference that took up the issues of ecology, climate change and species extinction. Pope Francis has deemed these issues to be of urgent concern to the Catholic Church. The Vatican symposium included natural and social scientists and prompted some observers to conclude that an ancient hostility between science and the church – at least on the issue of preserving the Earth and ways to further that preservation – is at an end. Kudos to St. Louis Biologist and Professor Peter Raven of the Missouri Botanical Garden. He was an organizer of the conference and noted that “by the beginning of the next century we face the prospect of losing half our wildlife. Yet we rely on the living world to sustain ourselves. It is very frightening.” Among the primary causes for the loss of species is destruction of habitat from development and from the effects of man-made climate change.
Daggers to White House Strategic Adviser Steve Bannon, whose Breitbart News trashed the Vatican Conference and many of its conclusions. The White House is now in the process of muzzling scientists. Washington, D.C., which for two centuries was a locus for encouraging scientific research, is now in the process of dismantling it and downgrading its findings. Bannon, a right-wing Catholic, is a major force behind the effort to diminish climate science and the influence of Pope Francis. Bannon has allied with Vatican critic, Cardinal Raymond Burke, who is known well to St. Louisans for his past presence as Catholic leader in the Gateway City. Burke, who is now in Rome, has tried to undermine the progressive pope. Bannon and Burke have united in common cause to criticize Francis for paying too much attention to the plight of the environment, the suffering of the poor, and the travails of immigrants and refugees. They believe the pope should be focused on more traditional Catholic issues such as abortion and gay marriage.
Daggers & Daisies, a regular weekly opinion feature of Environmental Echo, singles out friends and foes of the Earth for attention. Readers are encouraged to submit their nominees for Daggers & Daisies at firstname.lastname@example.org.