Skip to main content

June 2015


On June 18, Pope Francis will issue his highly anticipated encyclical on climate change. Santa Clara University experts can put this momentous document into perspective.

Santa Clara University, as a Jesuit, Catholic university committed to justice and sustainability, has numerous experts on campus to discuss the upcoming papal encyclical on climate change.

SANTA CLARA , Calif., June 10, 2015 -- On June 18, Pope Francis will issue his highly anticipated encyclical, or teaching document, on climate change to the world’s bishops. He will call on all Catholics to help lead an educational, economic, and political push for action to mitigate man-made warming of the earth, which has the most devastating impact on the world’s poorest.

Santa Clara University, as a Jesuit, Catholic university committed to justice and sustainability. has earned national rankings for its sustainability leadership, integrating justice and sustainability into campus operations, curriculum, student life, and community engagement. SCU has numerous experts on campus to discuss the encyclical from many angles including:

  • the climate science behind the encyclical
  • its theological importance of the encyclical and its relationship to Catholic social teaching over time
  • the array of practical solutions to climate issues underway in developing countries
  • ethical considerations for individuals, institutions, and governments

The University is also planning a forum and related activities starting in November to explore the moral, ethical, and economic imperatives of climate change.

Deborah Lohse ( or Tina Vossugh ( of SCU Media Relations can help journalists reach any of the experts or contacts below:



Michael McCarthy, S.J., is executive director of the Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education and teaches The Christian Tradition at SCU.  He can discuss the theological and Church-wide significance of an encyclical, including how congregations across the world have responded to past such documents on topics like economic, Church and social issues. Fr. McCarthy can be reached at or 408-554-6917. **Available for on-air interviews on June 17 and June 18 with advance notice.

Thomas Massaro, S.J., dean of the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University, is an expert in the history and trends behind Catholic social thought. He can discuss how the encyclical fits in with other Catholic priorities, how it relates to past papal encyclicals, as well as the growing Catholic emphasis on social responsibility. He can also address questions of the influence of “liberation theology,” or the Latin American-based pastoral prioritization of the poor. Fr. Massaro can be reached at 510-549-5040 or **Available for on-air and other interviews in Berkeley the week of June 14.

Sally Vance-Trembath is a lecturer in religious studies at Santa Clara University. Among other topics, she is knowledgeable about the history of Catholic popes -- including their papal encyclicals --  and their use and influence on the church over time. She was formerly vice president of Voice of the Faithful, the lay organization that was formed to respond to the abuse of children by clergy and the leadership crisis in the Church.  She has appeared frequently on television and radio to talk about Catholic issues.; 408-551-3185. *Traveling on June 17/18, available by phone only.

Keith Warner, OFM, is a director for the Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship who can discuss the influence of Francis of Assisi on the Pope’s encyclical, and has personal experience addressing climate mitigation in Mexico, Zambia, Uganda, the Philippines, and Kenya. He has co-taught the short course Thinking Ethically About the Environment at SCU.  Brother Warner has a Ph.D. in environmental studies from UC Santa Cruz and has published five books, including Care for Creation, a Franciscan Spirituality of the Earth, and has researched theologies related to the natural world.  Brother Warner has some meetings during June 17 and 18 but can be reached to schedule interviews intermittently. His e-mail is or Deborah Lohse of SCU Media Relations can help reach him (408-768-6898 or  **Available for on-air the week of the encyclical, with advance notice.

Lisa Fullam, associate professor of moral theology at Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University. She says critics are wrong to accuse Pope Francis of improperly acting as a climate scientist, because in fact a longtime tradition of Catholic magisterial teaching is to dialogue with experts. or try Deborah Lohse of SCU Media Relations to schedule an interview (408-768-6898).  **Traveling on the 17th of June, and available by  e-mail/phone on the 18th. 

Paul Crowley, S.J., religious studies professor at Santa Clara University who teaches Catholic theology, can discuss the role and importance of encyclicals in the Catholic faith. He can be reached at; (408) 554-4542. **Available for on-air on June 17 but not June 18. 



Ed Maurer, professor of civil engineering, is an expert on the effect on regional water resources from climate change, and served on California Gov. Schwarzenegger’s Climate Change Technical Advisory Group. He spent six months in Chile collaborating with the Centro de Cambio Global on climate change and water supply issues, and he was one of 21 Google Climate Communication Fellows gathered to to find more effective ways to communicate climate issues.  Prof. Maurer, who speaks some Spanish, is available at or 408-554-2178. **Available by phone on a limited basis June 17;   available June 18 for on-air interviews. 

Iris Stewart Frey is chair of the Department of Environmental Studies and Sciences at Santa Clara University. She researches environmental issues that affect the water cycle and water supply, including shallow groundwater pollution issues and surface water processes that are related to climate variability and climate change.  She can be reached at (408) 551-7186 or **Available for on-air interviews June 17 and 18.

Stephanie Hughes is a lecturer in  the Department of Environmental Studies and Sciences at Santa Clara University. She is a registered chemical engineer with more than 20 years of broad technical experience in air and water quality, including pollutant source characterization, chemical fate and transport, water and wastewater treatment, and regulatory permit compliance. She can be reached at or cell (408) 499-9271. **Available for on-air or phone interviews June 17 and 18.

Hari Mix is an assistant professor in the Department of  Environmental Studies and Sciences whose research examines past climates. He advises student research and teaches a course on climate change. He can be reached at or 408.551.3423. **Available 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on June 17 and 18.


Kirk Hanson, executive director of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University, can discu