Pope Francis has hit a home run: Laudato Si´, his 197-page encyclical (treatise) released June 18 by the Vatican on environment and climate change, makes it clear that we are responsible for the current and coming state of the planet – and we are going to have to fix it.
Praise Be to You: On Care for Our Common Home is available in English, German, Spanish, and Portuguese. Read the full document.
Laudato Si´—Be Praised is a line borrowed from The Canticle of the Sun, a poem attributed to the Pope’s namesake, St. Francis.
Not Religion, Not Politics
The treatise has nothing to do with religion—and despite the influx of candidates running for US President in 2016– it has nothing to do with politics. This is a matter of national and human will, nation by nation. Either we overuse every single raw material and resource on the planet and watch thousands of species, both animals and plants, go extinct, or we engage every nation in concrete actions.
Rapidification is Destroying Us
The Pope in Paragraph 18:
“The continued acceleration of changes affecting humanity and the planet is coupled today with a more intensified pace of life and work which might be called “rapidification.” Although change is part of the working of complex systems, the speed with which human activity has developed contrasts with the naturally slow pace of biological evolution. Moreover, the goals of this rapid and constant change are not necessarily geared to the common good or to integral and sustainable human development. Change is something desirable, yet it becomes a source of anxiety when it causes harm to the world and to the quality of life of much of humanity. “
Call to Action
Francis is not the first Pope, and likely not the last, to write on pressing social issues. In a New York Times article, the papal biographer Austen Ivereigh says that Laudato Si differs from many Papal documents in that it is intended for humans to take action – to take responsibility for a planet that is endangered.
“The pace of consumption, waste and environmental change has so stretched the planet’s capacity that our contemporary lifestyle, unsustainable as it is, can only precipitate catastrophes.”