When Cardinal Basil Hume was asked, a few years ago, what was his highest priority as a leader of the Catholic Church in England and Wales he responded “to save the planet”. In responding like this he was ahead of his time in many ways. For a church man to say this sounds way outside his area of concern and expertise. Should he not be concerned about the drop off in church attendance? The high rate of divorce? The number of abortions? The wars and violence in our world? The many people living in abysmal poverty? Of course he should, and I am sure that in his lifetime, he was. What he was doing was highlighting the impact of climate change on the world, the melting of the ice pack in Greenland, the rising water level in the oceans, the rising of temperature in many areas of the world and the cumulative effects of these changes. We think that the rising of the ocean levels will only affect small islands in the Pacific Ocean and perhaps some of the 7,000 islands of the Philippines. But what about the Bay Area? Alviso, Foster City, Fremont and Redwood City? Basil Hume was ahead of Pope Francis in his thinking and was keenly aware of the signs of the times. Maybe “to save the planet” can become our highest priority too. What are the small things that we can be doing locally? Reading the Pope’s letter “Laudato Si´ ” is a good place to start.