This piece in National Geographic Daily News is a wake-up call from local mountain dwellers in Europe. The Aletsch glacier is the source of the Rhone River system, and it is melting fast. In 1674, at the peak of the Little Ice Age, the glacier was growing rapidly and threatening villages. The Catholic Church began an annual summer prayer ritual asking for the glacier to melt. Since 1860, Aletsch has been shrinking, and now it’s shrinking so rapidly that the annual prayer ritual has been reversed. Catholics in the region petitioned the Vatican to revise a centuries old ritual in 2009, and were granted permission the following year. Now, instead of praying for the glacier to melt, the faithful are praying for it to stabilize. Locals hope that at least the change in the 350- year-old ritual will draw attention to human-caused global warming.
That the Vatican recognized the need and granted the petition, to me, is testimony to modern religious leaders accepting the reality of climate change and seeking all avenues to combat and adapt to it. We need both prayer and science to find our way into a new and more loving and wholesome relationship with the creation and the Creator
–Dr. Kathy Shea, Co-Director, NCIPL