Molly Burhan

Young Activist Is Helping Pope Francis Battle Climate Change – The New Yorker

Molly Burhans wants the Catholic Church to put its assets—which include farms, forests, oil wells, and millions of acres of land—to better use. But, first, she has to map them. – The New Yorker published a long fascinated article by David Owen in February 1, 2021.

Molly Burhans. Source: The New Yorker

For a year or two, when she was in college, she considered becoming a nun. Later, though, as she grew increasingly concerned about climate change, her ambitions broadened, and she began to think of ways in which the Catholic Church could be mobilized as a global environmental force. “There are 1.2 billion Catholics,” she told me. “If the Church were a country, it would be the third most populous, after China and India.”

Owens added that on a laptop, she showed me a high-resolution “green infrastructure” map of the United States that Esri engineers had created. The map incorporates vast quantities of data: topography, wetlands, forests, agriculture, human development—all of which can be explored, in detail, by zooming and clicking. Burhans had added her own data, about Catholic landholdings, and, by bringing those boundaries to the foreground and narrowing the focus, she was able to show me specific Church-owned parcels not far from where we were sitting which would be particularly valuable in any effort to preserve watersheds, habitats, migratory corridors, or other environmental assets. If Church leaders understood what they controlled, she said, they could collaborate with municipalities, government agencies, environmental N.G.O.s, and others, in addition to any efforts they might undertake on their own. “The role of the cartographer isn’t just data analytics,” she said. “It’s also storytelling.”

The whole article in English at the New Yorker is here.
Young Champions of the Earth – UN

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