Over ten years ago, on December 26, 2004, an earthquake off the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia triggered one of the deadliest tsunamis ever recorded, an event that ushered the destruction of over 200,00 lives -- and even more livelihoods -- throughout Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and the east coast of Africa.
The current mess is likely only a harbinger of things to come if industrialized nations don't dramatically reduce carbon emissions. Drought and desertification already ruin thousands of square miles of productive land annually, while rising sea levels could eventually force tens if not hundreds of millions of people from their coastal homes.
The United States has the technological imperative to lead on clean energy. We have the economic imperative to engage in job creation that is good for all of creation. We have the moral responsibility to protect our planet for future generations. And with the pope's encyclical, science and technology truly can be the answer to our prayers.