Theology Professor Talks Environment & Pope on MSNBC

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Christiana Peppard, Ph.D., an assistant professor of theology, ethics, and science, appeared on the MSNBC digital show, “Changing America,” on Jan. 13, where she discussed Pope Francis and his stance on the environment, as well as her own research on fresh water ethics.

Host María Teresa Kumar asked Peppard about Pope Francis’ recent comments on climate change, and his call for Catholics to mobilize on the issue.

Screen Shot 2015-01-13 at 10.08.07 AM“The Pope sees issues of poverty and environment linked, and partly this is because he’s not from the U.S.,” Peppard said. “In the U.S., environmental degradation globally isn’t visible to many of us as it is in places like Argentina, and other places in South America or Africa.

“When environmental degradation hits, it tends to hit the poorest people first who are least able to adapt or mitigate climate change. Also in the U.S…. we have this long legacy of a vexed relationship between religion and science … but the fact of the matter is this is a Pope with a master’s degree in chemistry. He consults with environmental scientists. He pretty much sees the writing on the wall.”

Kumar also asked Peppard about her book, Just Water (Orbis, 2014), and her research on fresh water ethics.

“The fact of the matter is that … there are really acute conflicts over what kind of thing water is and who gets it, and these are happening, not so much in the United States with weapons, but … with words and legislation, and in the case of Detroit this past summer, there was a big problem because it was revealed people living in poverty are the first to be cut off from that resource,” she said.

Watch the entire discussion here, and read this Climatewire interview with Peppard, where she discusses the formal document Pope Francis plans to issue, which will be the first time a pontiff has devoted the entire text of a papal encyclical to environmental issues.

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