This month, Catholics across the country are urging their U.S. senators to support the $555 billion in climate change funding passed by the U.S. House.
This national initiative, “Encounter for Our Common Home,” is co-sponsored by eleven national Catholic organizations, including Catholic Climate Covenant (founded with support of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops), and Caritas North America (which represents Catholic Charities USA and Catholic Relief Services).
As Nebraska Catholics from across our state speaking on behalf of many others, we hope and pray Sens. Deb Fischer and Ben Sasse will support this funding as a crucial step to benefit their constituents and care for our common home.
For the past 30 years, St. John Paul II, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and Pope Francis have explicitly described climate change as an urgent moral issue. As St. John Paul II warned in 1990, the “greenhouse effect has now reached crisis proportions as a consequence of industrial growth, massive urban concentrations and vastly increased energy needs.”
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Climate change is a moral issue for the church because its effects — like wildfires and food and water stresses from increasing drought — violate Catholic commitments to promote human dignity, protect human life, prioritize the poor, and care for God’s creation. The Omaha World-Herald story “Wildfires cause extensive agricultural losses in Nebraska” (May 2) illustrates the most recent impacts of climate change in our state. It also echoes years of warning from the Nebraska State Climate Office that the agriculture of our state’s farmers is especially vulnerable to increased drought.
As Nebraska Catholics, we worry about climate change in solidarity with farmers. Nebraska Catholics are also deeply concerned about the climate crisis as parents committed to the future of our children; as pastoral ministers serving the poor, vulnerable and marginalized disproportionately harmed by environmental degradation; as health care workers caring for those injured and sickened by more frequent and severe weather events; as service members watching Russian aggression funded largely by oil and gas exports; and laborers who would benefit from local jobs manufacturing and installing clean energy technologies.
The Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns that for humanity to have a greater than 5% chance of limiting global warming to 1.5 C – beyond which warming is likely to accelerate and intensify — the world must peak global greenhouse gas emissions by 2025, cut emissions in nearly half by 2030, and reach carbon neutrality around 2050.
Meeting these goals requires rapid and widespread action. As Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI stressed, “Technologically advanced societies must be prepared to encourage more sober lifestyles, while reducing their energy consumption and improving its efficiency. At the same time there is a need to encourage research into, and utilization of, forms of energy with lower impact on the environment.”
The scale and timeframe of these actions necessitates state intervention. In the Catholic tradition, the state exists to promote collective action needed to protect the common good — to ensure we do together what individuals cannot or will not do alone. Thus, as St. John Paul II taught, “It is the task of the State to provide for the defense and preservation of common goods such as the natural and human environments, which cannot be safeguarded simply by market forces.”
As Catholic Nebraskans, we support the $555 billion in climate funds passed by the U.S. House. This includes tax credits for clean energy and electric vehicles, support for U.S. manufacturing of clean energy technologies, and resilience financing to help vulnerable communities respond to wildfires, droughts and other impacts of climate change.
We urge Sens. Fischer and Sasse to support this funding and encourage those who agree to tell the senators by calling the Congressional switchboard at 202-224-3121.
OWH Midlands Voices April 2022
Each year on April 28, Workers Memorial Day, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration and workplace safety advocates across the nation remember those whose lives ended because of the work they did.
Joanne Li writes, "At UNO, we are on the leading edge of a growing national movement to bridge this degree-to-career gap by transforming traditional academic advising to a more high-touch, academic coaching model."
Midlands Voices: Actions don’t match rhetoric when it comes to getting money back to everyday Nebraskans
Dr. Rebecca Firestone writes, "Rather than invest in a broad array of proposals that would have immediately helped everyday Nebraskans, including measures to provide direct payments to residents and lower taxes for middle-income earners, the Legislature prioritized a bill that promises major future tax breaks for the wealthy, property owners and out-of-state corporations."
Midlands Voices: To protect patients and patient care, Nebraska’s hospitals need more health care workers
Jeremy Nordquist writes, "Nebraskans can’t wait any longer for lawmakers to support legislation that will grow the economy, close the workforce gap and support the health care system that keeps us all safe."
Erin Duffy writes, "Early childhood professionals provide a critical foundation for child development and the economy. The health care providers, grocery store workers and teachers that we relied upon during the pandemic? Child care providers allowed them to keep working their essential jobs, secure in the knowledge that their kids were being cared for, taught and nurtured."
Dr Donald Frey writes, "Abortion becomes an issue only if someone gets pregnant. Someone only gets pregnant if they have sex. You can’t legislate away sex. And the hard truth is, you can’t simply legislate away abortions, either."
Dr. Justin Welsh writes, "Technology will never replace farmers' experience, instincts or hard work. But new tools can help farmers and ranchers overcome the unique and growing challenges of modern-day agriculture."
John Hansen writes, "Farmers don’t have right to repair for farm equipment, when their tractors, combines, windrowers or sileage cutters breaks down, farmers are at the mercy of the dealership ... For Nebraska farmers and ranchers, right to repair is a financial, competition and fairness issue."
A.J. Walts writes, "It is in the best long-term interest for our society and our progeny to continue to carry the torch of democracy that the founding fathers and mothers painstakingly sought to endow upon us. It is far from perfect, but remains the best governance model there is."
Drs. Jeffrey P. Gold and James Linder write: "We know that taxpayer support of UNMC — and our ability to be not only a scientific, medical and educational powerhouse, but also an economic one — isn’t a gift. Your belief in us isn’t an obligation. It’s an investment, and we take our commitment to our communities that we serve very seriously."
Dan DiLeo and Christine Edmonds, St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church, Omaha
Deborah Goodenberger, St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, McCook
Pat Mertz, St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, Sidney
Patrick Powers, Christ the King Catholic Church, Gering
Martha Shulski, St. Michael’s Catholic Church, Lincoln