My 2010 “Green Pope”
Anthropocene scenario

Anthropocene_cover300Pope Francis’ new encyclical on how we humans treat our environment and Earth’s climate is triggering a global debate. I’m glad this is happening. When I wrote the original German version of my book “The Anthropocene” in 2008/09 I formulated the dream of a “Green Pope” who goes on a global walk to convince people that we need to treat our fellow beings on Earth better and take care of the climate…In the 2014 English edition, I have built this idea into my scenario “Antropocene Day”, in which a youth movement called “The Panarchists” manages to kick-start a global turnaround. Here’s an excerpt:

“The general public in Europe starts to mobilize too. The European president expresses her solidarity with Chinese protesters and offers the government a Eurasian alliance for clean air, ecological modernization and carbon dioxide reductions. An even greater sensation is caused by TV images from the Vatican. There, the Pope goes before the press and shows reporters that he has exchanged his fine shoes for a pair of hiking boots, and his papal staff for a hiking stick. “I will leave the Vatican for an indeterminate period of time and walk around the globe, from town to town, village to village, industrial area to industrial area, and forest to forest,” says the leader of the Catholic Church. “I will live among the poorest of the poor to be close to them, and knock at the doors of the most wealthy to test their hearts.” The Pope’s personnel distribute a hiking map with the planned route; the journey will start from Rome in the direction of Asia to show solidarity with the new Asian environmental movement, then through Alaska to South America where a ship will take the Pope to Africa and on back to Rome. “Whether I will manage it in ten years, I cannot say,” says the Pope, “but I would like to get the Church moving, and not just that: I extend an invitation to leaders of other religious communities to join me.”
A few weeks later, the Chinese president gives a speech entitled “My Chinese Dream,” in which he announces a new course: “Constantly better instead of constantly more.” Soon after, many Republican politicians in Washington feel as if their world has been turned upside down when they hear that their president, a fellow Republican, is also announcing a turnaround. In the White House, the fear having been too great that Eurasia could turn against the United States and leave it behind. Six months after the beginning of the protests in Shanghai, government leaders of the G-20 announce that “business as usual” is over…”

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