Why and How the People are Leading on Climate Issues

People’s Pastoral worth a second look as we consider our place on this planet

LENOIR, N.C. – Yesterday, I asked readers to take some time to reflect upon the ecological encyclical issued by Pope Francis in 2015.

However, as Paul Hawken noted in “Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Movement in the World Came into Being and Why No One Saw It Coming,” inept political and religious leadership worldwide has caused an inevitable uprising of common folk serving as the catalysts for change on social and environmental issues. The book, a New York Times Best Seller in 2007, was prophetic; social and digital media, people personally experiencing existential climate threats, and mediocre political and religious leaders have combined to multiply the number of individuals and grassroots organizations working to undue injustices perpetrated upon our most poor and vulnerable.

Appalachia is especially rich when it comes to individuals and organizations working to improve public health and environmental stewardship.

One such small but influential group of people is the Catholic Committee of Appalachia. In late 2015, the group issued a People’s Pastoral, “The Telling Takes Us Home: Taking Our Place in the Stories that Shape Us.”

It, too, is worth another look. I first wrote about it here:


© Michael M. Barrick, 2019. The ‘People’s Pastoral’ artwork by Christopher Santer.

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