Ignoring Realities when the World is in Crisis

By FAN Intern, Chiara Klein

Chiara Klein

If we want to claim that we practice true compassion and awareness, we are called to bring injustice, violence, destruction, inequity, and suffering into the light. The irrefutable existence of climate change creates scenarios in which all of these layers are part of daily life for billions around the world. Refusing to put this reality into words does not make it disappear. Yet, this avoidance and obfuscation is apparently the chosen tactic of the Trump administration, evidenced by the latest development within the Department of Energy’s Office of International Climate and Clean Energy (ICCE).

The staff of this office has allegedly been told not to use the words “climate change,” “emissions reductions,” or “Paris agreement” in any written communications or briefings. Not coincidentally, but somewhat ironically, ICCE is the only office at the DOE with the word climate in its name. DOE spokesperson Lindsey Geisler has denied these claims, and several State Department officials in other offices have said that there have not been formal instructions to avoid certain words but that there has been a conscious shift in language prompted by hints from transition staff, according to reporting by Politico. Whether acknowledged or not, this is censorship.

Censoring language around climate change reflects a disturbing refusal to acknowledge dangerous truths about the backwards steps that this administration is taking. It is no secret that President Trump has absolutely no regard for the state of our environment: the word ban came on the same day that President Trump signed an executive order to review and possibly begin to dismantle several powerful Obama-era regulations that would have significantly cut carbon emissions and protected clean water sources. He has made blatant attempts to render climate change and environmental degradation invisible because it doesn’t fit into his agenda. Meanwhile, our brothers and sisters around the world are dying of starvation and drought, or else struggling to put food on the table and battling health issues stemming from air pollution and water contamination. Many have found themselves climate refugees, having been forced to evacuate their homes and land due to changes in their local environment that have rendered it unlivable, such as massive flooding.

Climate change is creating a world of instability and suffering, and our government is quite literally looking the other way. This has passed the point of unacceptable politics: this is morally unconscionable. I have to hope that we still have time to be on the right side of history.

Published in: on April 5, 2017 at 8:47 am  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. It is a pity to witness a Franciscan organization fall captive to the radical Liberal politics of the Amerian Left. Even calling the president’s policies ” morally unconscionable.” This is not the Franciscan way. We are to be above and outside the control of political parties. Further, the article is totally anecdotal with no mention of or reference to any scientific documentation.

    David Joseph Weir, OFS
    Seven Dolors of the Blessed Virgin Mary
    Nashville, Tn,

  2. I would hope that the Franciscan Action Network be more instructive in activities that empower the individual and local fraternities to actions within the sphere of one’s capabilities. This article lacks the elements of the serenity prayer. Unfortunately, political activism may be issue oriented but the manner of the temporal government may write bills that make compromises for competing priorities and the president may run his administration in ways where his priorities may not be shared with the same level of passion. We should also try to acknowledge what good each President is trying to accomplish else it appears that being Democrat or being Republican is more a priority than being Franciscan and Catholic. Please offer balance and avoid complete demagoguery of an individual. The Rule 13 states that “Secular Franciscans with a gentle and courteous spirit accept all people as a gift of the Lord.” This includes people we may disagree with.
    Stephen Brace, OFS

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