Church has 'profound' role in addressing climate crisis

Author: Catherine M. Odell


Not so many years ago, Phil Sakimoto, recently named director of the sustainability studies minor at the University of Notre Dame, was a familiar face and voice to people all around the country. They learned from him about telescopes, space exploration and what it's like on Mars.

Sakimoto, an astrophysicist with a doctorate from the University of California, Los Angeles, worked at NASA for almost 15 years, as head of the space science education and public outreach program, and before that as university affairs officer for NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. He loved his NASA job, but a serious injury suffered more than a dozen years ago eventually changed the way he saw his work.

"I tore my Achilles tendon badly when I was playing tennis," Sakimoto explained. "I had to have it operated on and was laid up for a long, long time."

An avid sports fan, he watched a lot of tennis and the Olympics during his recovery. But he also had time to read lots of science journals.

What he read frightened him. He realized that global warming was rapidly becoming a deadly crisis. He'd known about global warming since his student days at Pomona College and UCLA. "But as a physicist, I could just look at this now — at what I was reading — and see that our global climate system was on the verge of collapsing," he said.

"I decided that I really needed to do something about it," he added.

Read the full article at EarthBeat here

Originally published by Catherine M. Odell at on August 30, 2021.