Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot
Container City: Shipping containers, indispensable tool of the globalized consumer economy, reflect the skyline in Singapore, one of the world’s busiest ports.
In just his first six months on the job, Pope Francis has distinguished himself as the pontiff most likely to go rogue. This, after all, is a man who just got a used car to tool around in. Last May, during a Vatican radio message, he called atheists “precious allies” and told them, “Do good: we will meet one another there.” Now, in a letter to nonbelievers in La Republica, signed simply “Francesco,” the pope continues on his apparent quest to make Vatican higher-ups go a little bit apoplectic.
The letter was a response to the paper’s editor Eugenio Scalfari, and a call to spark “a sincere and rigorous dialogue” between Christians and atheists. Obviously, the man whose work uniform includes a big pointy hat isn’t going to go all, “Maybe this God thing is a bunch of hooey.” But what Francis did offer was a seemingly sincere and respectful attempt to find common ground. “The question for those who do not believe in God is to abide by their own conscience,” he wrote. “There is sin, also for those who have no faith, in going against one’s conscience. Listening to it and abiding by it means making up one’s mind about what is good and evil.” Oh right! Free will! Always a good idea.
His words may not change anybody’s mind on belief. But what they do is tell the world a prominent religious leader understands that no one group has a monopoly on morality, that it belongs to all of us. It’s a reminder to Christians to not be arrogant or self-righteous. The call to conscience is one we all have to heed, however it manifests in our lives and philosophies. And tolerance is a value we can all share.
Man Covering His Mouth: A shepherd by the Yellow River cannot stand the smell, Inner Mongolia, China
Angry Crowd: People jostle for food relief distribution following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti
“Black Friday” Shoppers: Aggressive bargain hunters push through the front doors of the Boise Towne Square mall as they are opened at 1 a.m. Friday, Nov. 24, 2007, Boise, Idaho, USA
Suburban Sprawl: aerial view of landscape outside Miami, Florida, shows 13 golf courses amongst track homes on the edge of the Everglades.
Toxic Landscape: Aerial view of the tar sands region, where mining operations and tailings ponds are so vast they can be seen from outer space; Alberta, Canada
Ice Waterfall: In both the Arctic and Antarctic regions, ice is retreating. Melting water on icecap, North East Land, Svalbard, Norway
Satellite Dishes: The rooftops of Aleppo, Syria, one of the world’s oldest cities, are covered with satellite dishes, linking residents to a globalized consumer culture.
Child Brides: Tahani, 8, is seen with her husband Majed, 27, and her former classmate Ghada, 8, and her husband in Hajjah, Yemen, July 26, 2010.
Megalopolis: Shanghai, China, a sprawling megacity of 24 Million
Big Hole: The Mir Mine in Russia is the world’s largest diamond mine.
Clear-cut: Industrial forestry degrading public lands, Willamette National Forest, Oregon
Computer Dump: Massive quantities of waste from obsolete computers and other electronics are typically shipped to the developing world for sorting and/or disposal. Photo from Accra, Ghana.
Oil Spill Fire: Aerial view of an oil fire following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, Gulf of Mexico
Airplane Contrails: Globalized transportation networks, especially commercial aviation, are a major contributor of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Photo of contrails in the west London sky over the River Thames, London, England.
Fire: More frequent and more intense wildfires (such as this one in Colorado, USA) are another consequence of a warming planet.