US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Hope in Copenhagen

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Having spent part of my Thanksgiving vacation in Hopenhagen, as the locals are calling it, I have been optimistic that this round of climate change talks would achieve something.

But now that I'm on the other side of the ocean from the talks, it's hard to keep that optimism up. I admit that I am not following the talks too closely, though the "news" from the Daily Show was distressing--both that limos are being brought in to cart around dignitaries and that some loud people (on FOX News, of course) are denying climate change.

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I’m glad for Catholic News Service’s update on the talks, in which we get the view from the developing world.

I feel that I am represented well by the Catholic Church at least, and I’m thankful that the pope released his World Peace Day message about climate change now (the official day is January 1).

While angry protesters have caused some problems, there are a number of peaceful protesters as well. I thought this idea of ringing church bells 350 times to signify 350 ppm of carbon dioxide, the safe upper limit according to the latest science, was unique. And more than 11 million have signed this petition. I am inspired by the women religious/ecotheologians that Meghan writes about in her blog post.

But I can't help worrying that nothing or little will happen.

This photo is of a new statue placed in the water near Copenhagen's famous Little Mermaid. A fat woman, representing rich, Western countries, rides on the back of a skinny African man, representing the poor. I was distressed by a comment on FOX (see the Daily Show) that said the rest of the world just wants to bring the U.S. standard of living in the down.

This statement discounts the fact that not everyone in the United States can afford to live in McMansions in the suburbs and drive around SUVs. And most Catholics know that de-emphasizing the material in favor of the spiritual will actually give you a higher quality of life.

“Live simply so that others may simply live” is a good prescription for happiness. God’s love is unlimited, but Earth's bounty is limited. Especially at this time of year when waste is so high (read my post on having a green Christmas from last year), we should try to live by our values and remember that the poor suffer because of the way we treat the Earth.