Published On: Tue, Oct 27th, 2015

Northwestern professor Laurie Zoloth on climate change: ‘core moral issue of our time,’ denying it is ‘sinful’

A Northwestern University bioethicist who has called climate change the “core moral issue of our time” equates ignoring the problem to sin and called for a year without travel every seven years to allow the Earth to rest: “no big conferences, no academic flying.”

Professor Laurie Zoloth, who directs the Center for Bioethics, Science and Society at Northwestern’s School of Medicine, told The College Fix that she agrees with the recent assertion from the Episcopal Church head that denying climate change is “sinful.”

“If you understand the science and its implications, and yet, you continue to live in such a way that your (Greenhouse Gas) emissions are destroying the capacity of the planet to be a safe place, I would say that your actions ‘miss the mark’ if your goal is to live a decent and just life,” Zoloth told The Fix.

earth fireball destruction photo/ Bela Geletneky aka photoshopper24 via pixabay.com

earth fireball destruction photo/ Bela Geletneky aka photoshopper24 via pixabay.com

Zoloth specializes in Jewish studies, said that sin is the language of Christianity, but that “chet” – the Jewish concept of sin – means “missing the mark,” and matches with the claims made by the Episcopal leader.

Pointing to her studies of Jewish scriptures, Zoloth says the humans should allow the earth to rest.

“I use the source texts of Jewish thought to make my arguments. For example, I use the practice of having a sabbatical year to argue that we, too, should take a year off every seven to let the earth rest. In concrete terms, for academics, that would mean no big conferences, and no academic flying,” she said.



“We could choose to not meet at a huge annual meeting in which we take over a city. Every year, each participant going to the meeting uses a quantum of carbon that is more than considerable. Air travel, staying in hotels, all of this creates a way of living on the earth that is carbon intensive,” she said at December’s American Academy of Religion conference’s.

Zoloth told The Fix that “Pope Francis discusses the moral imperative of climate change as a problem inherent in a wasteful, careless, and overwrought capitalism.”

“I agree with him about his analysis of the issue, and about the debt to the poor that is created by the driven, competitive and wasteful society in which we live,” she said.

Full coverage at The College Fix HERE

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- Catherine "Kaye" Wonderhouse, a proud descendant of the Wunderhaus family is the Colorado Correspondent who will add more coverage, interviews and reports from this midwest area.

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