Pope Francis recently warned of the consequences of ignoring the scientific evidence related to Global Warming. In a speech in Kenya he said, “It would be sad, and dare I say even catastrophic, were special interests to prevail over the common good…”

In another headline it said, “Antarctic ice shelf ‘will be gone’ by 2020.” In the text of the article it tells us that an ice shelf roughly fifteen times the size of Manhattan Island that has existed for 10,000 years is quickly disappearing. The study came from the journal, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, and was written by NASA and University of California researchers.

Some say that the earth has its “cycles” and it is going to do what it is going to do. Scientists don’t disagree with that statement but add that Global Warming is exaggerated by fossil fuel emissions. Just a two degree change in the globe’s average temperature would necessitate major adjustments worldwide. It would seem that our task, which we have so far decided to ignore, is not to make earth’s cycles worse than they would otherwise be.

For some reason there is still a controversy regarding whether or not Global Warming is real. Physical Science is not my area of expertise. When I am faced with controversy in areas where I have limited training and experience I look for a simple approach to understanding. In this case I choose to listen to Mother Nature. She always seems to have an answer I can understand. I can tell it is raining if I put my hand out the window and it comes back wet. I know its cold when I seem to be blowing smoke with every breath. You get the idea.

Well, today, the number of icebergs floating in both the North and South Seas is at an all-time high telling us that more ice is breaking off of the ice packs than in previous decades. Glaciers in the Himalayas have receded significantly. The run off from those glaciers has supplied the Ganges River for centuries and is the source of water for 500 million Indians. India’s leadership is afraid the Ganges may be only a dry river bed two decades away.

Countries like The Maldives in the Indian Ocean are slowly sinking into the rising oceans. When I visited there a decade ago I found it to be an amazing organization of more than 2000 islands each more exotic than the last but very few more than two feet above sea level at their highest point. Their capital city of Mali had sea walls built up to protect the city and government buildings. I asked a friend there what would happen if the ocean rose just a foot. He smiled and said, “How many bedrooms do you have in your house?”

Closer to home the storms in the U.S. mid-west are getting more severe. The drought in California and the southwest is looking more and more like a permanent happening. I called a friend in San Jose and complained that I was considering the possibility of building an Ark because of all the rain. He began to laugh. He said they had not had real rain in months and months. He said he was convinced that Californians were going to have to learn to live like the people of Arizona without watered lawns and lush flower gardens. He could envision yards of sand and rocks with cactus plants here and there.

More and more I like what the Pope says. He has taken to heart the responsibility to minister to his flock, a large number of whom are among the poor and disenfranchised. He isn’t a scientist but, unfortunately, many are not listening to our scientists. Perhaps they will listen to one of our more visionary religious leaders. Let’s hope the leadership in Washington DC and around the globe get his message before it is too late.

Mark L. Hopkins writes for More Content Now and Scripps Newspapers. He is past president of colleges and universities in four states and currently serves as executive director of a higher-education consulting service. You will find Hopkins’ latest book, “Journey to Gettysburg,” on Amazon.com. Contact him at presnet@presnet.net.