The Pope has urged that we “break this self-destructive trend” of consumerism.
A polemic about global warming and the environmental crisis, which argues that ordinary people have consistently opposed the destruction of nature and so provide an untapped constituency for climate action.
Crimes Against Nature uses fresh material to offer a very different take on the most important issue of our times. It takes the familiar narrative about global warming — the one in which we are all to blame — and inverts it, to show how, again and again, pollution and ecological devastation have been imposed on the population without our consent and (often) against our will. From histories of destruction, it distils stories of hope, highlighting the repeated yearning for a more sustainable world.
In the era of climate strikes, viral outbreaks, and Extinction Rebellion, Crimes Against Nature moves from ancient Australia to the ‘corpse economy’ of Georgian Britain to the ‘Kitchen Debate’ of the Cold War, to present an unexpected and optimistic environmental history — one that identifies ordinary people not as a collective problem but as a powerful force for change.
‘Sparrow tells these stories with the lucidity and animation of a true crime podcast. He dissects the reactionary nature of placing mankind in opposition to nature: it not only erases millennia of Indigenous peoples’ relative harmony with the natural world, but seeks to preserve nature for the select few destroying it for everyone else. He is fearless too in his criticism of progressives who write off their fellow citizens as uncaring and complicit in global warming. That corporations invested in such sophisticated public relations campaigns shows they “understand something about ordinary peoples that escapes many environmentalists”: that ordinary people are not “innately greedy or selfish” … Amid the doom and gloom of so much contemporary environmentalism, this is worthy of applause.’
The Pope is clearly worried about climate change
Pope Francis has asked young people to eat less meat in a bid to take better care of the environment.
In a to participants at the EU Youth Conference in Prague earlier this month, the Pope urged that we “break this self-destructive trend” of consumerism and prioritise sustainability.
“It is urgent to reduce consumption not only of fossil fuels but also of many superfluous things; and also, in certain areas of the world, , this can also help save the environment,” he wrote.
The latest green pledge follows the Pope’s publication of ‘Laudato si’ in 2015, his second encyclical (letter) which laments environmental degradation and global warming, and calls all people of the world to take “swift and unified global action.”
He lays the foundations for what he calls “integral ecology” in the encyclical. This earned him the title of Person of the Year by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) the same year.
In October 2021, Pope Francis and religious leaders called for action on climate change at the UN COP26 conference. Although the 84-year-old could not attend the conference, he made his dedication to tackling the climate crisis clear.
Then in November, he made another speech telling us all to protect the environment as “everything around us seems to be collapsing”. The Vatican’s St. Peter’s Basilica was filled to the brim with hundreds of young people who came to listen.
Climate change is the most important issue now facing humanity. As global temperatures increase, floods, fires and storms are becoming both more intense and frequent. People are suffering. And yet, emissions continue to rise. This book unpacks the activities of the key actors which have organised past and present climate responses – specifically, corporations, governments, and civil society organisations. Analysing three elements of climate change – mitigation, adaptation and suffering – the authors show how exponential growth of the capitalist system has allowed the fossil fuel industry to maintain its dominance. However, this hegemonic position is now coming under threat as new and innovative social movements have emerged, including the fossil fuel divestment movement, Fridays for Future, Extinction Rebellion and others. In exposing the inadequacies of current climate policies and pointing to the possibilities of new social and economic systems, this book highlights how the worst impacts of climate change can be avoided.