Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Laudato Si'   Praise be!

On Care For Our Common Home.
[Up, Down]   (Last updated Thursday August 6.)


OK. First I made thirteen pieces, frames - they are still there, below.

July 1: Ottmar Edenhofer, Naomi Klein, Flaminia Giovannelli, Federico Lombardi, Bernd Nilles.

Then complete coverage of Naomi Klein at the July 1 news conference in Rome (finally) turned up. She does such a good job of, as she says, "supporting and celebrating" Laudato Si' that she goes up front in this post. The text below matches this video. Thirteen minutes. Listen and read. It's the right thing to do.

       Naomi Klein:

Thank you.

I want to extend my heartfelt gratitude to the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and to CIDSE for hosting us here, and for convening this remarkable 2-day gathering that I’m very much looking forward to.

It’s also a real honour to be here supporting and indeed celebrating the historic publication of the Pope’s encyclical.

Pope Francis writes early on in Laudato Si’ that this is not only a teaching for the Catholic world but for “every person living on this planet.” And I can say that as a secular Jewish feminist who was rather surprised to be invited to the Vatican, it certainly spoke to me.

“We are not God,” the encyclical states. All humans once knew this. But about 400 years ago, dizzying scientific breakthroughs made it seem to some humans that we were on the verge of knowing everything there was to know about the Earth, and would therefore be nature’s “masters and possessors,” to quote René Descartes' so memorable phrase. This, they claimed, was what God had always wanted.

That theory held for a good long time. But subsequent breakthroughs in science have told us something very different. Because when we were burning ever larger amounts of fossil fuels — convinced that our container ships and jumbo jets had leveled the world, that we were as gods — greenhouse gases were accumulating in the atmosphere and relentlessly trapping heat.

And now we are confronted with the reality that we were never the master, never the boss — and that we are unleashing natural forces that are far more powerful than us or our most ingenious machines. We can save ourselves, but only if we let go of the myth of dominance and mastery and learn to work with nature — respecting and harnessing its intrinsic capacity for renewal and regeneration.

And this brings us to the core message of interconnection at the heart of the encyclical. What climate change reaffirms — for that minority of the human species that ever forgot — is that there is no such thing as a one-way relationship of pure mastery in nature. As Pope Francis writes, “Nothing in this world is indifferent to us.”

For some who see interconnection as a cosmic demotion, this is all too much to bear. And so — actively encouraged by fossil-fuel funded political actors — they choose to deny the science.

But that is already changing as the climate changes. And it will likely change more with the publication of the encyclical. This could mean real trouble for American politicians who are counting on using the Bible as cover for their opposition to climate action. In this regard, Pope Francis’s trip to the United States this September could not be better timed.

Yet as the encyclical rightly puts it, denial takes many forms. And there are many across the political spectrum and around the world who accept the science but reject the difficult implications of the science.

I've spent the past two weeks reading hundreds of reactions to the encyclical. And though the response has on the whole been overwhelmingly positive, I've noticed a common theme among many of the critiques. Pope Francis may be right about the science, we hear, and even about the morality, but he should leave the economics and policy to the experts. They are the ones we are told who understand how effectively markets can solve any problem.

I forcefully disagree. The truth is that we have arrived at this dangerous place partly because many of those economic experts have failed us, wielding their powerful technocratic skills without wisdom. They produced models that placed scandalously little value on human life, particularly on the lives of the poor, and placed outsized value on protecting corporate profits and economic growth at all costs.

That warped value system is how we ended up with ineffective carbon markets instead of strong carbon taxes and higher fossil fuel royalties. It’s how we ended up with a temperature target of 2 degrees which would allow entire nations to disappear — simply because their GDPs were deemed insufficiently large.

In a world where profit is consistently put above people and the planet, climate economics has everything to do with ethics and morality. Because if we agree that endangering life on earth is a moral crisis, then it is incumbent on us to act like it.

That doesn’t mean gambling the future on the boom and bust cycles of the market. It means policies that directly regulate how much carbon can be extracted from the earth. It means policies that will get us to 100 per cent renewable energy in 2 to 3 decades or at the latest by mid-century — not by the end of the century. And it means allocating common, shared resources — like the atmosphere on the basis of justice and equity, not winner-takes-all, or as Professor Edenhofer has said, "Might makes right."

That’s why a new kind of climate movement is fast emerging. It is based on the most courageous truth expressed in the encyclical: that our current economic system is both fueling the climate crisis and actively preventing us from taking the necessary actions to avert it. A movement based on the knowledge that if we don’t want runaway climate change, then we need system change.

And because our current system is also fueling ever widening inequality, we have a chance, in rising to the climate challenge, to solve multiple, overlapping crises at once. In short, we can shift to a more stable climate and a fairer economy at the same time.

This growing understanding is why you are seeing some surprising and even unlikely alliances. Like, for instance, me at the Vatican. Like trade unions, indigenous groups, faith and green groups, climate scientists, working more closely together than ever before.

Inside these coalitions, we don’t agree on everything — not by a long shot. But we understand that the stakes are so high, time is so short and the task so large that we cannot afford to allow these differences to divide us. When 400,000 people marched for climate justice in New York City last September, the slogan was “To change everything, we need everyone.”

Everyone of course includes political leaders. But having attended many meetings with social movements about the COP summit in Paris, I can report this: there is zero tolerance for yet another failure being dressed up as a success for the cameras. Until a week later, when those same politicians are back to drilling for oil in the Arctic and building more highways and pushing new trade deals that make it far more difficult to regulate polluters.

If the deal fails to bring about immediate emission reductions while providing real and substantive support to poor countries, then it will be declared a failure. As it should be.

What we must always remember is that it is not too late to veer off the dangerous road we are on — the one that is leading us not towards 2 degrees of warming but towards 4. Indeed we could still keep warming below 1.5 degrees if we made it our top collective priority.

It would be difficult, to be sure. As difficult as the rationing and industrial conversions that were once made during wartime. As ambitious as the anti-poverty and public works programs that were launched in the aftermath of the Great Depression and the Second World War.

But difficult is not the same as impossible. And giving up in the face of a task that could save countless lives and prevent so much suffering simply because it is difficult, and costly and requires sacrifice from those of us who can most afford to do with less is not pragmatism. It is surrender of the most cowardly kind. And there is no cost-benefit in the world that is capable of justifying that.

“Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”

We have been hearing these supposedly serious-minded words for more than two decades. For the entire lifetime of today’s young climate activists. And every time another UN summit fails to deliver bold, legally-binding and science-based polices, while sprinkling empty promises of reshuffled aid money on the poor, we hear those words again. “Sure it’s not enough but it’s a step in the right direction.” “We’ll do the harder stuff next time.” And always: “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”

This, it must be said inside these hallowed walls, is pure nonsense. “Perfect” left the station in the mid-1990s after the first Rio Earth Summit. Today, we have only two roads in front of us: difficult yet humane — and easy yet reprehensible.

To our so-called leaders preparing their pledges for COP 21, getting out the lipstick and heels to dress up another lousy deal, I have this to say: Read the encyclical — not the summaries, the whole thing. Read it and let it into your hearts. The grief at what we have already lost, and the celebration of what we can still protect and help to thrive.

Listen, too, to the voices of the hundreds of thousands who will be on the streets of Paris outside the summit, and gathered simultaneously in cities and towns around the world. This time, they will be saying more than “We need action.” They will be saying: “We are already acting.”

More than that they will be saying, “We are the solutions”: In our demands that institutions divest their holdings from fossil fuels; In our ecological farming methods, which rely less on fossil fuels, provide healthy food and work and sequester carbon; In our democratically-controlled community energy projects; In our demand for reliable, affordable and even free public transit.

In our uncompromising insistence that you cannot call yourself a climate leader while opening up vast new tracts of ocean and land to oil drilling, gas fracking and coal mining. We have to leave it in the ground.

And in our conviction that you cannot call yourself a democracy if you are beholden to multinational polluters.

Around the world, the climate justice movement is saying: See the beautiful world that lies on the other side of courageous policy, the seeds of which are already bearing ample fruit for any who care to look.

Then, stop making the difficult the enemy of the possible.

And join us in making the possible real.

Thank you.

July 2: Peter Turkson & Naomi Klein.
[Posted here on Sunday July 19.]
Post contents:  1) For every person,  2) Finesse ... Naomi Klein,  3) Honesty, Climate Jobs Justice,  4) Caetano & Bob & 2nd Fergot,  5) First notice in April,  6) Articles,  7) Rise Up at the Royal York,  8) Correctitude,  9) Belly-button / Umbigo,  10) Am I my brother's keeper?  11) Maieutic,  12) Learning from Louis, Briar Rose, 1st Fergot,  13) I ran to tell everybody.

[Clicking once on the black bars will skip through one frame at a time (at default zoom). And underneath all'a that is a translation of an interview with Erwin Kräutler and a few cartoons.]
Wiley Miller: The End of Evolution.

A letter from Jorge Bergoglio/Pope Francis:   Laudato Si' On Care For Our Common Home   is readily available on The Vatican's website (right-click and 'Save Link As' to download).

What can I say?   GET IT AND READ IT!   It looks like almost 200 pages but the print is very large as are the page borders so it is more like 75 pages of actual reading, in six chapters for easy division into instalments. Copies are not going to be in bookstores until the middle of the month so if you want to make notes it may be best to carry it to a shop or print it yourself (double-sided of course :-).

He is up front and explicit in addressing this letter to "every person living on this planet."   That includes me, who is neither a Catholic nor a Christian nor probably even a theist, and it includes you too (like it or not).

Laudato Si' (with apologies to cartoonist Nate Beeler). 
Finesse:   I decide to take my own advice and go out yesterday and have the letter printed; but when I get it home and nicely established in a three-ring binder and begin to re-read ... I am suddenly overtaken and overcome by powerful memories of duplicitous priests.   Two stand out.

In the late 60s my girlfriend and I moved into one of the 'evacuated communities' on the Burin Peninsula in Newfoundland. The place was named Great Paradise, and so it was - and we were called the Paradise Hippies. There were lots of houses still standing at that time (some with mouldy loaves of bread still in the kitchen cupboard) but the ones that had been 'sold' to the government were out of bounds and getting permission to live in one of the others involved overcoming some bitterness as you may understand if you think about it - these were the houses of people who had wanted to stay and been forced out. We wound up living in the school house which was owned by the Roman Catholic church and in due course we were summoned to Rushoon to answer to the priest. I don't remember his name but (to make a long story short) he finessed us out of the school. Luckily someone else came forward with an offer of a house - a man who, curiously, was known for his un-Christian bad-temper. It was a pink house, pink as a 7-ball, and we lived there for more than a year until other events drove us out of it.

She was a Catholic and a few years later we got married in a church. I won't ever forget Father Thom. His only interest in me was getting a signature on a piece of paper promising to bring up any children as Catholics - this was his condition for performing the ceremony at all. And then, on the wedding morning, when the vows had all been said, he made communion mass for my wife as I was left kneeling at the altar. My only thought was getting up and beating him senseless but she caught my eye - her eyes, as they say in fairy tales, 'were as big as teacups' - and I stifled it.

Wedding Day.The dark foliage at the right there was prophetic.

And here I am more than forty years later promoting a letter by a man who happens to be Pope. Go figgure.

Maybe this will help - from Naomi Klein (as reported yesterday in Haaretz):

"This is an alliance on a specific issue. It's not a merger, but when you are faced with a crisis of this magnitude, people have to get out of their comfort zones."

[Friday July 3.]
I am collecting what seems to me the best of the commentary around the encyclical including an interview with Erwin Kräutler, the bishop in the Altamira/Belo Monte part of Brazil, which I am translating. These will be posted here in the next few days.

It is tempting NOT to publish old wedding photographs, but there it is: this letter of Jorge's churns right down into the deepest parts of the psychological compost heap, into the muck of the Forgotten Works of Watermelon Sugar, and I ... am damned if I will not play it straight.

Crowbird, Louis Lesosky, July 2015.Sweet to find this on an old friend's blog a few minutes after I wrote those lines:
If not now, when? Self Government Around the World. How? The Truth Will Set You Free. Honesty. How is that for starters? Can you be? Completely? If we are going to build a new world we need a foundation of Honesty. ... Mistakes can and will be made, honest mistakes, and we can learn from them, but not if they are hidden or covered up or blamed on the innocent. So put everything out in the open, no more closed door secrets.

Queens Park, Toronto, Sunday July 5.It's taking longer to get to the translation than I expected. Instead, I go out yesterday to the 'Climate Jobs Justice' march. The organizers will surely say it was 10,000+ (you can see the huge crowd behind me in Queen's Park in the picture there) but it looks to me like 4-5,000 tops (after watching carefully and conferring thoughtfully with several people including a policewoman) - another poor, paltry, & shameful turnout for Toronto the Good.

The 350 thought-police are everywhere in force and if you won't obey and join one of their 'contingents' then they want you to go home. Just when I'm about to take their advice along come some Brasilian drummers speaking Portuguese who fall in at the very tail end. They greet me with enthusiasm and I ... it's like manna in the desert. Que bom!

I last almost to Allan Gardens but it's too much so I slip away before I fall down.
[Monday July 6.]

A woman I admire and respect tells me that she was not in a 'contingent' either and did not find the 350 marshals pushy. She agrees with my estimate of 4-5,000 but thinks 350 did a heck of a job organizing. If there had been fifty thousand people there this difference of opinion would never have come up.

I still can't help but wonder - it's one of those questions that sticks: Why exaggerate?
[Sunday July 12.]
Caetano Veloso, 'Terra'.In section 84 he writes, "... everything is, as it were, a caress ..." which (understood somewhat out of context) takes me away to Caetano Veloso's 'Terra': "pra gente te dar carinho durante toda a viagem." / 'for us to caress you throughout the voyage.'

[Translated lyrics of 'Terra' and links to several YouTube versions can be found here.]

Bob Dylan, 'Dignity'.'Dignity' is one of the keywords (as I recognize, imitating a technique I remember from a little book on Psalms by Martin Buber) and when I finish first reading I am once again taken away, this time to Bob Dylan's tune of that name.

[The video of this has been removed from YouTube since I downloaded it. I will try to slide something back up in there soon. I tried and failed. The copyright cops are using algorithms I am not clever enough to slip around and there is no alternative to YouTube that I can find. If anyone is interested and emails or leaves a comment with a mailing address I will send a CD.]

OK, I set up an account on Vimeo and put this video up there for my grandchildren - but you might like it too, or not.

You see what's happening eh? ... With all of these - what I would call objective correlatives and you might call distractions - this is going to take a LOT longer than I figgured.

It becomes a kind of 'Pilgrim's-Progress-towards', or a 'Consolation-of-Stream-of-Consciousness-heading-asymptotically-in-the-increasingly-vague-direction-of' Laudato Si'. (With apologies to the spirits of John Bunyan and Ancius Boethius.)

Now, early in the morning, I am going to Berczy Park to see what may rise up over there.

[Wednesday July 8.]

Ah! The other things I fergot:   POPULATION!   (A little space left here to jam this in. :-)

He says a few words about consumption but doesn't drop the P bomb. My guess is that's about as far as you can go if you're Pope and want to keep your job. (Thanks to Gord for reminding me, and particularly for introducing me to 'Mettā'.)
[Saturday July 18.]
And WE NEED EVERYBODY!   This was part of the motto for the New York City march last year apparently. I must'a missed that somehow. But she's right (again I think this comes from Naomi Klein), and that includes: Popes all the way through to unregenerate whoremongers. Dig it.
[Tuesday July 21.]
Danziger: Koch Brothers vs Pope.
The first notice I remember seeing was this Danziger cartoon in April. The appeal is clear - it goes straight to a huge we/they dualism (more on this later in 'What I learn from Louis').

Jorge/Francis is called 'brilliant' for his ability to build the crowd with expectation & anticipation. I'm not sure it's brilliant but it's certainly competent - he's thought about it and planned a savvy PR campaign which does not spare himself - competent & admirable.
Tom Toles: Two of every excuse. 
Eventually I may post these articles here entire, but for now - a list with links:

   • Lynn White, a lecture from 1966: The Historical Roots of Our Ecological Crisis.   Several commentators mention this lecture/essay as a foil to Jorge's letter; more on that later perhaps. Well written, prescient (or just smart, as you will), grounded in history.


   • From The Guardian: An Editorial, June 18; and, something from Giles Fraser.   The Guardian never really pulls out all the stops. The editorial comes close (but doesn't); and Giles Fraser not so much, in fact he seems well wide of the mark to me. Dilettanti - not a judgement, an observation; from Alan Rusbridger all the way on (up) to ... Jorge/Francis himself. We are, all of us, sons and daughters of the bourgeoisie.


   • Elizabeth Renzetti, Friday June 19:   It seems to me that she is simply telling it straight. This shouldn't be so exceptional, but it is.


   • Alan Jacobs: first thoughts, June 18 and more thoughts, June 20:   I am feral enough to be naturally suspicious of anything under a woo-woo banner like 'New Atlantis' and in the end he comes to what I find is a ludicrous conclusion - that faith is essential; but I still like the way he gets there. So.


   • Crawford Kilian, June 22:   It's all about objective correlatives. This guy starts out just about where I did, with an experience: "Holy shit! Look'a these sentences man!" and a question: "I wonder what language he wrote it in?" (And The Tyee moves a few slots up on my 'papers-to-look-at-first' list.)


   • Erwin Kräutler interview in Globo/Época, June 26, and reprinted in the Amigos da Terra – Amazônia Brasileira newsletter, June 30 (which is where I found it):   These links are both in Portuguese, Google Translate is worse than useless, my translation is proceeding but still incomplete, sorry for the delay. When it is done you may still think it is not worth the effort but Erwin Kräutler is a man who has repeatedly stood up to be counted in a locale where such behaviour is often grounds for summary execution. That he also happens to be a Roman Catholic bishop is to me, interesting but ... incidental. The translation is below.


There are also sooooo many flavours of dreck out there drifting in the wrack and ruin of the Internet more-or-less related to this letter. Gobshites like wazizname ... James Inhofe and the cohort of official American morons (not all Republican and not all elected) are, in this respect, no worse than some Roman Catholic priests who try to reserve the letter 'for the faithful'. Mixed into it, here and there, is the odd nugget - shining like W.H. Auden's "Ironic points of light flash out wherever the Just exchange their messages." (You can find his poem 'September 1, 1939' here.)

BUT THE VERY FIRST THING TO DO IS READ THE LETTER ITSELF, all of it, as carefully and openly as you're able to - and then ... take it where you will.
[Thursday July 9.]
Royal York Hotel, Wednesday July 8.Breakfast at Toronto City Hall, Wednesday July 8.

"Standin' on the porch of the Lido Hotel ..." (Frank Zappa, 'Willie the Pimp'). The head just above the 'M' in the photo on the left belongs to the fat old fart in the green shirt with a pony-tail in the one on the right. (Thanks to Chris for spotting the image on TV and grabbing it.)

"Smash Capitalism! End Colonialism!" How stupidly naïve is that?

On the up-side, the action is both confrontational and non-violent - a good combination rarely accomplished. A hundred or so people are able to block access to the Royal York parking garage at a time when some of the elite participants may be briefly inconvenienced. A handful of gents in very nice looking silk suits are not able to walk straight in through the front doors.

The Rise Up leaders do not extend the 'Safe Space' guidelines (below) to the police - lots of undiluted Anglo-Saxon is hurled in their general direction - but Toronto cops are no longer quite the same thugs we saw at the G20 a few years ago.

In the spirit of Robin Soans' 'Talking To Terrorists' (which I thought should have been named 'Talking With Terrorists') I propose a project called 'Talking With Police'. Maybe if we stop reinforcing the we/they dualism and look for common complicity more will be accomplished.

I have no idea how to square any of this with mainstream activist groups such as those under Climate Action Network Canada who praise Kathleen Wynne, Philippe Couillard, & Gerry Brown for their lame & wrong-headed Cap & Trade scheme, and praise the "landmark Pan-American climate agreement" which is no more than a joint statement full of vague government bafflegab and insubstantial aspirations.
    1) Friday July 10 Block Party, and 2) Saturday July 11 Toronto People's Social Forum.

The joke's on me ... no problem. I go there hoping for the best and come away many hours later feeling like a sack of shit. These are personal failures - people I know who see me and look away - and it hits me square in the guts, and the guts are increasingly riddled with hernias, and I slope off back to this apartment, and assume the pre-natal position, and wait until I can breathe again.

The registration handout includes a perfectly correct 'Welcome' (up front):


Safer Space Policy


A safer space policy is intended create a supportive, nonthreatening environment for all who participate in a space. In particular, it is an attempt to prioritize those who are most oppressed and marginalized in society, to provide a space that is free of disrespectful and hateful behaviours.


All participants in the Peoples Social Forum are dedicated to sharing an oppression–free space for dialogue and debate. Participants commit to open dialogue and communication in a respectful environment, free of all forms of harassment. Any acts of oppression weaken and divide us and cannot be tolerated.


All participants commit to these guidelines for participation:


Respect peoples’ opinions, beliefs, experiences and differing points of view.


Respect everyone’s identity and background, including pronouns and names. Do not assume anyone’s gender identity, sexual preference, survivor status, economic status, background, health, etc.


Be aware of the space you take up and how much you speak as well as the prejudices and privileges you bring into the space.


Refrain from racist, ageist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, transmisogynistic, ableist speech or behavior or any conduct that demeans, marginalizes, rejects, threatens, or harms anyone on the basis of ability, physical appearance, race, ethnicity, education, class, gender identity, sexual orientation, self-expression, nationality, language, immigration status, or religious affiliation.


Be conscious of how your language may perpetuate oppression. Be responsible for your own actions and aware that your actions have an effect on others, regardless of your intentions. Listen and change your behavior if someone tells you that you are making them uncomfortable.


Don’t feel guilty, feel motivated. Realizing that you are part of the problem means you can be part of the solution!
'Transmisogynistic' is a new one on me but I get it, 'ableist' I have to look up. If Lenny Bruce comes along he will be publicly excoriated ('with a dull spoon' as we used to say). I love the 'etc.' on the second bullet: so ... all interactions will proceed from scratch using NASA's guidelines for communication with aliens (I presume).   It's not as if I fundamentally disagree - but does it really take so many words to express?   If so, why so? 
I do share a smoke, sitting on a retaining wall with another gent, last thing before I walk away, a grace note. He recognizes me from the Royal York and greets me with a smile. We exchange a few stories which may be true.

Geometry, the belly-button of it, o umbigo dela:   Section 119 is about at the geometrical centre of Jorge's letter; then when I hit 217, the echo is so strong I go back and begin from 119 again.

119. Nor must the critique of a misguided anthropocentrism underestimate the importance of interpersonal relations. If the present ecological crisis is one small sign of the ethical, cultural and spiritual crisis of modernity, we cannot presume to heal our relationship with nature and the environment without healing all fundamental human relationships. ...

(A quibble with the word 'small'.)

His words are remarkably similar to what Naomi Klein said at Powershift in 2012: “Not until we have a plan to heal the planet that also heals our broken selves and our broken communities do we have a hope of preventing this most dire of all crises, and our job is to begin to imagine - quickly - what that wholistic healing process might look like.”

217. The external deserts in the world are growing, because the internal deserts have become so vast. For this reason, the ecological crisis is also a summons to profound interior conversion. ...

[Oops! Gas pocket in the compost pile. Lookout! Internal deserts! Uh oh! Here's the ol' whoremonger goes around shittin' on all and sundry; tired burnt-out hippie feelin' guilty blew a wheelbarrow-load'a oily cash; smart-ass show-off kid never learned to play nice never grew up; ... depraved on account'a he's deprived; or perverse on account'a he's a fat, plutocrat, cat, (albeit erstwhile). And all of the above! Oh yeah! We got, self-loathing. In spades, yeah. We got paranoid narcissism. In diamonds. We got lonely & alienated in clubs. Even if hearts are trump ...
(as he leads with the treye).]

How broken are we? Nothing's gonna happen 'til we're too broken to deny it so ... we can't be that badly broken yet. Enough to glimpse but not to grasp. Oh my.

The kids imagine they can legislate properly behaving humans with correctitude & cant; like the doddering socialists who still dream that H. sapiens IS perfectible (!) and as soon as that's accomplished all will be well; or the 'people of the book' who figgure God's got something to do with it.

"Rage! Rage against the dying of the light," says Dylan Thomas; "We must love one another or die," says W.H. Auden;
Ai Ai Ai!" sez I.

[Sunday July 12.]
Am I my brother's keeper?
Jorge Bergoglio, Francis, March 2013 in Rome.Jorge Bergoglio, Francis, March 2013 in Rome.Jorge Bergoglio, Francis, March 2013 in Rome.

“This Ecuadorean people that has gotten to its feet with dignity.”   [There's that word again.]           (NYT.)

“Again and again comes the strength of that question of God to Cain: 'Where is your brother?' I ask if our response continues to be: 'Am I my brother's keeper?'”                             (NCR, thanks to Fátima.)

At the end of the speech, Francis made his familiar request that people pray for him, but mindful that this was a more secular crowd, he added that if people could not pray for him that “you think well of me and that you send me good energy.”                                                                                        (NYT.)

'Mindful' eh? Could be some Zen Buddhism creepin' in there; and 'good energy', maybe a hippie or two hidin' in the woodpile. Naomi Klein on the other hand is explicitly anti-hippie: A Radical Vatican? (in The New Yorker, July 10) - though we hippies do not hold this against her, not even a wee little bit. :-)

[As I ... wander off into Shakespeare; seeing for the first time that the transcendence in "but bears it out even to the edge of doom" is another of those beastly metaphorical knives that cut both ways.]

[Wednesday July 15.]
Maieutic:   I know it looks like show-off bullshit but it's just a word I happened to notice and pick up a few weeks ago in J.M. Coetzee's 'Waiting for the Barbarians'.   Maieutic: Pertaining to intellectual midwifery, i.e. to the Socratic process of assisting a person to bring out into clear consciousness conceptions previously latent in his or her mind. (OED)

George du Maurier: True Humility, Punch, 1895.
This cartoon appeared above some nay-saying Internet nonsense about Laudato Si' - someone trying to downplay and put it off with a blurry kind of 'balance'. As with everything there are more ways of getting it wrong than of getting it right, even to T.S. Eliot's great warning in 'Murder in the Cathedral' that it is "the greatest treason to do the right deed for the wrong reason."

How to make any sense of it at all? ... What would antonyms of 'maieutic' look like then? Compulsory? Didactic (depending upon how one teaches)? Obsessive? Proselytical? Or, coming at it from the other end: what would the essense of it be? Thinking for oneself? How to avoid using the levers of correctitude & positive thinking to blame the innocent? Where is the line between social engineering and personal transformation?

Time is so short and I do not know what to do gentle reader.
[Thursday July 16.]
What I learn from Louis:

In Berczy Park I meet a young man, Louis, who tells me he thinks the movement might be more effective with less emphasis on we/they distinctions - that is, with less demonization of those who do not (yet) agree. What a good idea!

Briar Rose:

Robin Cowings: Briar Rose.Sleeping Beauty, Briar Rose, starts out from the thirteenth elf/fairy being excluded for want of enough golden plates to go around. This rudeness, perhaps no more than a simple oversight, results in one hundred years of stasis (two Jubilees - two 'Yovel' - are missed). Feminists such as Madonna Kolbenschlag tell us to 'Kiss Sleeping Beauty Goodbye!' meaning that frog princes may be surprised at what wakes to their kiss - a shift in social consciousness as it were.

But here in the Last Chance Saloon the stakes have now been raised to the existential - and there are no higher stakes than that. We are not talking about an hiatus any longer, some century-long Rip van Winkle snooze, but of death & extinction. This is extinction of the creation we have disrespected and abused, and extinction of our kind, H. sapiens (or H. grǽdum as I call them, us, we).

There remains only a vanishingly small open window of opportunity to act and it is quickly shutting. You may think this is a matter of opinion but - read the science - it is no more a matter of opinion than the temperature at which water boils. But ...
OK. ... How much d'you wanna bet?

[Friday July 17.]
[I like prime numbers: Thirteen especially; but seventeen is another favourite.]

Ah! What I meanttersay an' fergottersay:   A bottom line of sorts.

It seems to me that the next job is to ensure that 'Laudato Si' stays visible: like a kite flying over a Rio favela, or like a light in the window of a tower on the darkest night humanity has ever lived through. This is not necessarily a heavy task because Jorge himself is carrying a lot of the weight.

If anyone out there who reads this has any notion for some activity directed towards this end I will help in any capacity I am able to perform. You can contact me by leaving a comment on this post or via the Blogger email interface on my profile. I would also like to find a study or discussion group on Laudato Si' that might accept me as a member.
MORE TO FOLLOW IN THIS SPACE SOON ...   (maybe, maybe not ... possibly)
Wintertime is comin', the windows are filled with frost.
I ran to tell everybody but I, could not get across.
I wanna be your lover babe. I don't wanna be your boss.
Don't say I never warned you when your train gets lost.
Extant (TV series).
OK. Here's the translation of the interview with Dom Erwin Kräutler:
Dom Erwin Kräutler by Rafael Araújo.   It's not a very good translation, but I'm tired; and that's not an excuse, just the truth.

Funny that Erwin Kräutler is one of the priests who focusses, automatically it seems, on 'the faithful'. I am surprised at that but OK, he does what he does and I know he is a man of some courage.

I guess the tiredness is really coming out of reading the ridiculous half-measures in the 'National Energy Strategy' devised by the provincial premiers in St. John's a few days ago.

Canada is a joke, a bad one, through and through; which would be fine except it's not a funny joke.

This is the very end of this, finally, and I am back with Bob at the conclusion of 'Dignity':

So many roads. So much at stake.
So many dead ends
And I'm at the edge of the lake.
Sometimes I wonder what it's gonna take ...

Be well gentle reader.

Dom Erwin Kräutler - "As palavras do papa incentivarão a defesa da Amazônia", Bruno Calixto.

Globo/Época, 26 de junho,
Amazônia, 30 de junho..
Dom Erwin Kräutler - "The Pope's words encourage the defense of the Amazon."

O bispo do Xingu conta como o papa levou em conta os problemas das comunidades da Amazônia em sua encíclica sobre ecologia.
The bishop of the Xingu tells how the Pope took into account the problems of Amazonian communities in his encyclical on ecology.

A publicação da encíclica do papa Francisco repercutiu no mundo inteiro. Não por acaso: é a primeira vez que um papa dedica um documento dessa importância ao tema da ecologia. Para escrever as 190 páginas de Laudato Si, o papa se consultou com cientistas, ativistas e movimentos sociais do mundo inteiro. Uma das pessoas que contribuíram é o bispo do Xingu, Dom Erwin Kräutler. Dom Erwin atua na Amazônia, com sede em Altamira (PA), na defesa de povos indígenas e comunidades locais. Sua militância social e ecológica fizeram dele alvo de ameaças de pistoleiros da região. "Descrevi ao Papa Francisco a realidade da Amazônia e as condições em que vivem os seus povos", disse o bispo. Em entrevista por e-mail, dom Erwin falou sobre a encíclica e sobre como a defesa do meio ambiente passará a ser parte do engajamento da vida dos católicos.
The publication of the encyclical by Pope Francis has reverberated throughtout the world. This is no accident: it is the first time a pope has dedicated a document of this importance to the subject of ecology. In writing the 190 pages of Laudato Si, the pope consulted with scientists, activists, and social movements worldwide. One of the people who contributed is the bishop of the Xingu, Dom Erwin Kräutler. Dom Erwin, based in Altamira (PA), operates in the Amazon in the defense of indigenous peoples and local communities. His social and ecological activism have made him the target of threats from gunmen in the area. "I described for Pope Francis the reality of the Amazon and the conditions under which people live," said the bishop. In an interview by e-mail, Dom Erwin talked about the encyclical and how protecting the environment will become part of the engagement of life for Catholics.

[Photo: Dom Erwin Kräutler: "Do que Lula prometeu, nada foi cumprido." Dom Erwin numa casa de oração em Belém. No Pará, ele precisa andar com escolta policial. Rafael Araújo.]
[Photo: "Of what Lula promised, nothing has been accomplished." Dom Erwin pictured in a church in Belém. In Pará [Brazilian State], he needs police protection. Rafael Araújo.]

GLOBO/ÉPOCA - Como a Igreja no Brasil vai trabalhar a nova encíclica do papa?
ÉPOCA - How will the Church in Brazil work with the Pope's new encyclical?

DOM ERWIN KRÄUTLER - Sem dúvida haverá uma série de seminários e encontros em todos os níveis para estudar a encíclica e analisar como essa carta do papa pode ser aplicada no chão concreto de nossa realidade. Já está sendo divulgado todo tipo de subsídio, guia de leitura, vídeo do Youtube e outros auxílios didáticos para uma leitura proveitosa do documento papal. Aliás, o estilo literário da encíclica é de fácil “digestão”. Para ler Laudato Si não precisa ser universitário ou doutor. Também o povo simples e de grau mais modesto de escolaridade conseguirá entender o que o papa quer dizer.
DOM ERWIN - No doubt there will be a seminars and meetings at all levels to study the encyclical and analyze how the Pope's letter can be applied on the ground of our reality. It is already being circulated with all kinds of support: a reading guide, a Youtube video, and other teaching aids; for a fruitful reading of the papal document. In fact, the literary style of the encyclical is easy to "digest". You don't need to be a Professor or have a PhD to read Laudato Si. Simple people with a modest level of education will also be able to understand what the Pope is saying.

ÉPOCA - O senhor acredita que essa encíclica poderá influenciar no trabalho do dia a dia nas comunidades da Amazônia?
ÉPOCA - Do you believe this encyclical can influence the day-to-day work in Amazonian communities?

DOM ERWIN - Tenho certeza de que as comunidades da Amazônia são muito gratas ao papa. Já no primeiro capítulo ele se refere aos problemas da região e exige um cuidado todo especial com esse gigantesco bioma. Creio que as palavras de Francisco se tornarão referência especial nos encontros comunitários e devem incentivar os movimentos que lutam em defesa da Amazônia. Penso nas diversas organizações no âmbito da Igreja, mas também em outros movimentos e iniciativas fora da Igreja Católica que há décadas lutam contra a destruição da floresta tropical e o inescrupuloso assalto às riquezas naturais sem preocupar-se minimamente com as futuras gerações. Quem não se sente apoiado no seu engajamento em favor da Amazônia quando lê as palavras do papa? "É louvável a tarefa de organismos internacionais e organizações da sociedade civil que sensibilizam as populações e colaboram de forma crítica, inclusive utilizando legítimos mecanismos de pressão, para que cada governo cumpra o dever próprio e não-delegável de preservar o meio ambiente e os recursos naturais do seu país, sem se vender a espúrios interesses locais ou internacionais".
DOM ERWIN - I'm sure Amazonian communities are very grateful to the pope. In the first chapter he refers to the problems of the region with its gigantic biome which requires special care. I believe that the words of Francisco will have particular relevance to community meetings and will encourage movements fighting in defense of the Amazon. I am thinking of the various organizations within the Church, but also other movements and initiatives outside the Catholic Church which have been struggling for decades against the destruction of the rainforest and the unscrupulous assault on the natural resources without worrying at all about future generations. Who could not feel supported in their commitment to Amazonia when they read the words of the Pope? "We cannot fail to praise the commitment of international agencies and civil society organizations which draw public attention to these issues and offer critical coop­eration, employing legitimate means of pressure, to ensure that each government carries out its proper and inalienable responsibility to preserve its country’s environment and natural resources, without capitulating to spurious local or interna­tional interests."

ÉPOCA - O texto da encíclica indica que o papa busca colocar o homem em harmonia com a natureza e rejeita a ideia de que o homem deve "dominar a Terra" (uma interpretação que algumas pessoas fazem do livro do Gênesis). O senhor acha que é possível colocar em prática essa nova interpretação?
ÉPOCA - The text of the encyclical shows that the Pope seeks to place man in harmony with nature and rejects the idea that man must "dominate the earth" (an interpretation that some people make of the book of Genesis). Do you think you can put this new interpretation into practice?

DOM ERWIN - Deus não concedeu aos homens um poder absoluto sobre a criação, um alvará irrestrito para agredir e explorar a natureza. A tradução do versículo do Gênesis que fala em "dominar a terra" é equivocada e deu origem a interpretações distorcidas. O texto original em hebraico, traduzido ao pé da letra, é "colocar o pé sobre a terra". Isso quer dizer que Deus confia toda a criação à responsabilidade humana para ser cuidada, zelada, protegida. No parágrafo 66 da encíclica o papa explica que Deus deu um preceito de “cultivar e guardar” a Terra, como aliás menciona o Gênesis: “O Senhor tomou o homem e o colocou no jardim de Éden para o cultivar e guardar”. Interessante é que essa visão de harmonia de que o papa fala no mesmo parágrafo coincide com o entendimento que os povos indígenas andinos conservam desde tempos imemoriais quando falam do Sumak Kawsay, o "Bem Viver": existe um ser supremo que criou todas as coisas e por isso deve ser amado e respeitado. Esta consciência faz o homem e a mulher viver em paz consigo mesmo e em harmonia com os irmãos e irmãs e ao mesmo tempo com todos os seres criados, com o mundo que nos circunda.
DOM ERWIN - God did not give man absolute power over creation, an unrestricted license to attack and exploit nature. The translation of the verse in Genesis that refers to "subdue the earth" is mistaken and has led to distorted interpretations. The original Hebrew text, translated literally, is "putting his foot on the earth." This means that God has entrusted all creation to human responsibility to be cared for, looked after, protected. In paragraph 66 of the encyclical the Pope explains that God gave the precept of "till and keep" the earth, as in Genesis: "The Lord took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to tend and keep it." Interestingly, this vision of harmony that the pope speaks of in the same paragraph coincides with the understanding of Andean indigenous peoples from time immemorial when they speak of Sumak Kawsay, the "Good Life": There is a supreme being who created all things and so it should be loved and respected. This awareness makes men and women live in peace with themselves and in harmony with their brothers and sisters, with all created beings, and with the world around us.

Como colocar em prática? Primeiro precisamos “tomar consciência da necessidade de mudanças de estilos de vida, de produção e de consumo“, como diz a encíclica. É necessário começar a questionar nossas atitudes dominadoras e exploradoras e, em nível municipal, estadual e federal, adotar políticas de respeito e carinho para com a natureza. O papa Paulo VI dirigiu já em novembro de 1970 uma mensagem à FAO (Organização das Nações Unidas para Agricultura e Alimentação) e disse: “O homem gastou milênios para aprender a submeter a natureza, a dominar a terra. Agora soou a hora de ele dominar o seu próprio domínio”. Estou convicto de que a educação ambiental deve começar no seio da família e ter um lugar proeminente na formação escolar.
How to put this into practice? First we need to "be aware of the need to change lifestyles, production and consumption," as the encyclical says. We need to start questioning our dominating and exploitative attitudes and, at local, state and federal levelss, adopting policies of respect and affection for nature. Pope Paul VI addressed as early as November 1970 a message to the FAO (United Nations Food and Agriculture) and said, "Man spent millennia learning to subdue nature, to dominate the earth. Now comes the time for him to master his own domain." I am convinced that environmental education has to start in the family and have a prominent place in school curricula.

ÉPOCA - No ano passado, o senhor me disse que levou quatro temas ao papa: acesso a eucaristia na Amazônia, questão indígena, ecologia humana e sobre o povo do Xingu. Essas preocupações estão presentes na encíclica?
ÉPOCA - Last year, you told me that you took four themes to the Pope: access to the Eucharist in the Amazon, indigenous issues, human ecology, and the people of the Xingu. Are these concerns addressed in the encyclical?

DOM ERWIN - Naquela inesquecível audiência, descrevi ao papa Francisco a realidade da Amazônia e as condições em que vivem os seus povos. Referi-me primeiro às nossas comunidades e lamentei que, por causa da acentuada escassez de padres, a população só tem acesso à eucaristia algumas vezes ao ano. Falei dos povos indígenas e entreguei-lhe uma mensagem do Cimi (Conselho Indigenista Missionário), previamente redigida, chamando a atenção para os diversos pontos do documento. Disse a ele que os povos indígenas só sobreviverão física e culturalmente se permanecerem em suas terras, que hoje são ameaçadas pelos grandes projetos governamentais, pelas empresas mineradoras e madeireiras e pelo agronegócio. Aí o papa me revelou que estava escrevendo uma encíclica sobre a ecologia. Insisti logo que num documento dessa envergadura não poderia faltar uma clara referência à Amazônia e aos povos indígenas. O papa recomendou-me então que enviasse ao cardeal Turkson alguma contribuição minha nesse sentido o que, voltando ao Brasil, imediatamente fiz.
DOM ERWIN - At that unforgettable audience, I described to Pope Francis the reality of Amazonia and the conditions under which its peoples live. I took up our communities first, and lamented that, because of a sharp shortage of priests, people only have access to the Eucharist a few times a year. I spoke of indigenous peoples and delivered a message from CIMI (Indigenous Missionary Council), previously drafted, drawing attention to the various points of the document. I told him that indigenous peoples will only survive physically and culturally if they remain on their lands, which today are threatened by large government projects, mining and logging companies, and agribusiness. The Pope told me he was writing an encyclical on ecology. I insisted right away that a document of such importance must include a clear reference to Amazonia and the indigenous peoples there. The pope asked me to send my contribution to Cardinal Turkson, which, on returning to Brazil, I immediately did.

Ao ler agora a encíclica deparo-me com vários pontos em que é bem notório que o papa levou em conta os nossos anseios e angústias e demonstra claramente que os assumiu como suas próprias preocupações. No número 38, por exemplo, falou sobre a importância da Amazônia “para o conjunto do planeta e para o futuro da humanidade” e acrescentou que “quando estas florestas são queimadas ou derrubadas para desenvolver cultivos, em poucos anos perdem-se inúmeras espécies, ou tais áreas transformam-se em áridos desertos”. No número 146 refere-se explicitamente aos povos indígenas dizendo que é “indispensável prestar uma atenção especial às comunidades aborígenes com as suas tradições culturais. Não são apenas uma minoria entre outras, mas devem tornar-se os principais interlocutores, especialmente quando se avança com grandes projetos que afetam os seus espaços. Com efeito, para eles, a terra não é um bem econômico, mas dom gratuito de Deus e dos antepassados que nela descansam, um espaço sagrado com o qual precisam de interagir para manter a sua identidade e os seus valores. Eles, quando permanecem nos seus territórios, são quem melhor os cuida. Em várias partes do mundo, porém, são objeto de pressões para que abandonem suas terras e as deixem livres para projetos extrativos e agropecuários que não prestam atenção à degradação da natureza e da cultura".
As I read the encyclical now I find many points where I see that the Pope takes into account our concerns and worries and clearly makes them his own. At number 38, for example, he speaks about the importance of Amazonia "for the whole planet and for the future of humanity" and adds that "when these forests are burned or cut to develop crops countless species are lost in a few years as such areas are transformed into arid deserts." At number 146 he explicitly refers to indigenous people saying it is "indispensable to pay special attention to Aboriginal communities and their cultural traditions. They are not just a minority among others, but should become the main interlocutors, especially when major projects go ahead that affect their areas. Indeed, for them, the land is not an economic good, but a gift of God and of the ancestors resting in it, a sacred space with which they need to interact in order to maintain their identity and values. They, when they stay in their territories, are the ones who take the best care. In many parts of the world, however, they are subject to pressures to abandon their land and leave it free for extractive and agricultural projects that do not pay attention to the degradation of nature and culture."

ÉPOCA - Algumas críticas dizem que a encíclica é "antitecnologia", porque ela condena o poder que a tecnologia nos dá ou dá às empresas. O senhor concorda com essas críticas?
ÉPOCA - Some critics say that the encyclical is "anti-technology" because it condemns the power that technology gives us and gives businesses. Do you agree with this criticism?

DOM ERWIN - Quem fala desse jeito ou só leu a encíclica de maneira superficial ou então de modo preconceituoso e vai na onda do Jeb Bush, pré-candidato à presidência dos EUA pelo Partido Republicano. Unem-se a políticos conservadores e empresários que consideram o papa liberal demais por causa de sua abertura a questões sociais e sua repetida crítica a um capitalismo selvagem gerador de miséria e exclusão social. Chegam até ao despropósito de chamar Francisco de “papa marxista”. Querem confinar o papa na sacristia da Basílica de São Pedro no Vaticano. Só aceitam que fale sobre questões internas da Igreja, sobre liturgia e sacramentos e negam-lhe o direito de opinar e tomar posição em relação a assuntos de ordem social, política e econômica. Isso é um absurdo. O papa em nenhum momento se declara contra a tecnologia e os avanços da ciência em nosso tempo. O que ele condena, com toda a razão, é “a submissão da política à tecnologia e à finança“ e lamenta que “há demasiados interesses particulares e, com muita facilidade, o interesse econômico chega a prevalecer sobre o bem comum". Quem vai negar isso?!
DOM ERWIN - Who talks like that has only read the encyclical superficially or with preconceptions and belongs with Jeb Bush, pre-presidential candidate US by the Republican Party. Conservative politicians and businessmen who consider the Pope too liberal are uniting because of his openness to social issues and his repeated criticism of a savage capitalism which creates misery and social exclusion. They go so far as to call Francis the "Marxist Pope". They want to confine the Pope to the sacristy of St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. They only accept him talking about the internal affairs of the Church, and the liturgy and sacraments, and deny him the right to consider and take a stand on social, political and economic issues. This is absurd. The Pope at no time declares himself against technology or the advances of science in our time. What he condemns, quite rightly, is "the submission of politics to technology and finance" and he regrets that "there are too many vested interests and economic interests prevail over the common good too easily." Who will deny it ?!

ÉPOCA - O que muda para cada católico após a encíclica?
ÉPOCA - What changes will there be for each Catholic after the encyclical?

DOM ERWIN - O que muda para as e os fiéis da Igreja Católica é que daqui para frente a questão ecológica faz definitivamente parte de nosso engajamento. Ninguém mais pode afirmar que lutar em favor do meio ambiente, que é o lar que Deus nos confiou, é prerrogativa de algum partido político. Ao professarmos a nossa fé em “Deus Pai, Criador do céu e da terra”, declaramos nossa missão de zelar por esse mundo, inclusive em vista das futuras gerações, como o papa diz no número 78 da encíclica: “Se reconhecermos o valor e a fragilidade da natureza e, ao mesmo tempo, as capacidades que o Criador nos deu, isto permite-nos acabar hoje com o mito moderno do progresso material ilimitado. Um mundo frágil, com um ser humano a quem Deus confia o cuidado do mesmo, interpela a nossa inteligência para reconhecer como deveremos orientar, cultivar e limitar o nosso poder".
DOM ERWIN - What changes for the faithful of the Catholic Church is that going forward the ecological question is definitely part of our engagement. No one can claim any longer that to fight for the environment, which is home that God has entrusted to us, is the prerogative of any particular political party. As we profess our faith in "God the Father, Creator of heaven and earth," we declare our mission to take care of that world, keeping future generations in view, as the Pope says in paragraph 78 of the encyclical: "If we acknowledge the value and the fragility of nature and, at the same time, our God-given abilities, we can finally leave behind the modern myth of unlimited material progress. A fragile world, entrusted by God to human care, challenges us to devise intelligent ways of directing, developing and limiting our power."
And ... a few political cartoons on the issue:
David Parkins: Upside Down.David Parkins: What else could go wrong.
Horsey: A Voice Crying in the Wilderness.Xavier Bonilla: Francis & Correa in Ecuador 'Could you tell them to stay on their knees'.
Brian Gable: This Just In - Laudato Si.Drew Sheneman: I was in charge of the thermostat.
Joep Bertrams: De grote mars The long march - edited for Canada.Joep Bertrams: Klimaattop Parijs Cop21 in voorbereiding Climate Summit in preparation.
Elizabeth May is on side - see her blog post and repeated (?) - The Green Party of Canada, not so much.
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