Seeing the Truth of Laudato Si in Antarctica

Millennial writer Christopher White has a new article at Crux. He writes:

But the Antarctica to be discovered today is one quite different than the one that was found by the early explorers. Today it is under siege-not from nations seeking to plunder it, but from the ravages of climate change. The West Antarctic Peninsula is considered to be one of the most rapidly warming areas on earth, with the European Space Agency estimating an unprecedented rise of more than 4 degrees in the past fifty years.

The forces of climate change that imperil the continent have global ramifications that must be reckoned with, too. Ninety percent of ice on planet earth is found in Antarctica and earlier this year it was reported that a massive crack has occurred in the Antarctic ice sheet, likely to break off in a matter of weeks or months.

That ice will eventually float into the ocean and melt, resulting in what could be a devastating rise in the sea level. As a New Yorker who lived through the havoc of Hurricane Sandy, I know this was just an appetizer for what the world will endure if we fail to take the effects of climate change seriously….

Incidentally, I set sail for Antarctica just weeks after the world continued to process the unlikely victory of Donald Trump. On our boat, the aftershocks of the election season filled many of my conversations with fellow passengers from around the globe-and with the backdrop of Antarctic grandeur-I couldn’t help but to ponder the question Francis posed: “What kind of world do we want to leave those who come after us?”

For far too long, those of us in the Western world-both collectively and individually-have lived lives defined by greed and boundless consumption with a selfish shortsightedness toward the generations that will follow our own. The Paris Climate Agreement of December 2015 offered a first step to reversing this pattern but that too is now under siege. A radical change in our policies and our personal ways of living is needed.