The earth can be seen as a manifestation of the goddess, and must be treated with respect. The five elements -- space, air, fire, water, and earth -- are the foundation of an interconnected web of life.
Dharma -- often translated as “duty” -- can be reinterpreted to include our responsibility to care for the earth. Simple living is a model for the development of sustainable economies. Our treatment of nature directly affects our karma.
Gandhi exemplified many of these teachings, and his example continues to inspire contemporary social, religious, and environmental leaders in their efforts to protect the planet.
The 192-page letter, which is the highest level teaching document a pope can issue, lays much of the blame for global warming on human activities.
Pope Francis writes that: "We have come to see ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled to plunder her at will...The violence present in our hearts, wounded by sin, is also reflected in the symptoms of sickness evident in the soil, in the water, in the air and in all forms of life."
The Pope identifies specifics as he speaks against "collective selfishness" and calls for an end to consumerism and greed.
The Pope's message has also been praised by environmental groups. WWF president Yolanda Kakabadse saying it "adds a much-needed moral approach'' to the debate on climate change.
Greenpeace leader Kumi Naidoo is also lined up on the Pope's side of the battle demanding policies that reduce carbon emissions, and replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy.
Meanwhile Rick Santorum questioned whether the Pope was credible on the issue of climate science. Rick says the Pope should be “leaving science to the scientists and focus on what we’re really good on, which is theology and morality. When we get involved with political and controversial scientific theories, then I think the church is probably not as forceful and credible.”
In the Pope's view, morality is an important part of the environmental issue and even Rick allows the Pope to speak of morality. But then on the other hand, Rick doesn't think the vast majority of scientists are credible on environmental issues.
Rick states what side of the battle he is on, "I believe in capitalism for everybody -- not necessarily high finance, but capitalism that works for the working men and women of this country, who are out there paddling alone in America right now."
Also on that side of the battle is US Senator, Jim Inhofe, chairman of the US Senate Environment Committee. He disagrees with the Pope's "philosophy" on global warming. "I am concerned that his encyclical will be used by global warming alarmists to advocate for policies that will equate to the largest, most regressive tax increase in our nation's history." That's plain enough!
There was one dynamic in the model, however, that offered some hope. Werner termed it “resistance” – movements of “people or groups of people” who “adopt a certain set of dynamics that does not fit within the capitalist culture”. According to the abstract for his presentation, this includes “environmental direct action, resistance taken from outside the dominant culture, as in protests, blockades and sabotage by indigenous peoples, workers, anarchists and other activist groups”.
Serious scientific gatherings don’t usually feature calls for mass political resistance, much less direct action and sabotage. But then again, Werner wasn’t exactly calling for those things. He was merely observing that mass uprisings of people – along the lines of the abolition movement, the civil rights movement or Occupy Wall Street – represent the likeliest source of “friction” to slow down an economic machine that is careening out of control.
On the other side are those supporting a moral world, the humanity that occupies that world and its future generations.