Santa challenges Trump on climate change

“… in my opinion, ‘climate change’ is on par with childhood faith in Santa Claus and the tooth fairy.” — Cal Thomas, Rome News-Tribune, December 20, 2015

In an unprecedented news release from the North Pole, Santa Claus has weighed in on the irresponsibility of climate change denial by influential leaders in the United States.

The report was released through a high-ranking elf, who is known to be a close confidante of Santa and a reliable news source. This eyebrow raising action from an American icon came in direct response to a Dec. 11 interview with Donald Trump on Fox News Sunday, when the president-elect said that “nobody really knows” whether climate change is real.

Portions of Santa’s statement are quoted below:

“It’s not just enough to know who’s naughty and nice. I have an adult responsibility to children everywhere. Believe me, climate change is for real and that’s bad news for the millions of children I love all over the world.

“That’s why I’m distressed that the next president of the United States ridicules the fact that human-induced climate change presents a serious threat to the entire globe.

“It’s solely Mr. Trump’s business if he does not believe in me. But when he denies reality and then stymies global efforts to reduce the impact of earth-warming human activity, I feel compelled to speak out.”

I am heartened to hear Santa speak so forcefully on this urgent issue hiding in plain sight. He is a respected moral authority and he brings a world-wide perspective to the conversation.

However, Santa is not the first to go beyond scientific fact and economic calculation and address climate change as a moral issue.

In June of 2015, Pope Francis released the encyclical Laudato Si, in which he declared without equivocation that human-induced climate change is for real and that care for God’s creation is a central doctrine of the church. He warned of an “unprecedented destruction of ecosystems, with serious consequences for all of us” if corrective action is not taken swiftly.

Later in December 2015, after 25 years of difficult negotiations, 195 nations signed the Paris Agreement. In so doing, the signatories agreed to reduce carbon emissions voluntarily, with the goal to keep the average global temperature from rising no more than 2 degrees C. above pre-industrial levels.

When Mr. Trump nominated Oklahoma attorney general, Scott Pruitt, to be head of the Environmental Protection Agency, he revealed his stiff-necked denial of climate change and signaled his intention to reverse President Obama’s environmental legacy.

Under President Trump, the United States government likely will take a pass on the Paris Agreement and pursue a full-bore fossil fuel energy policy.

With such irresponsible leadership, the active role of citizens in this democracy has never been more important.

The Roman Catholic Church under Pope Francis’ leadership is only one of many faith communities whose members have been challenged to be faithful stewards of the earth.

To that end, many individuals and congregations have come together to form a statewide organization called Georgia Interfaith Power and Light (info@gipl.org). With headquarters in Decatur, GIPL is comprised of people of faith from various religious communities “connecting faith, community and planet”. They believe that every major religion has an ethic of creation care.

GIPL offers multiple classes and workshops all across the state. They can provide an energy assessment for churches and synagogues in order to conserve energy.

Most of all they provide guidance, inspiration and community at a time when stewardship of the earth has never been more important.

We will be tested on many fronts during the time that Donald Trump is president of the United States. His presidency will call for hope as a spiritual force both from people of faith as well as from those Americans not so inclined.

Let’s keep in mind, when it comes to climate change policy, on our side we have NASA, the Pentagon, the pope and Santa. We are not without resources.

R.Rex Hussmann, a retired marriage/family therapist and chaplain at Northwest Georgia Regional Hospital for 18 years, writes for the website MOVE GEORGIA FORWARD. Readers may contact him atMoveGeorgiaForward@gmail.com.

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