“The earth herself, burdened and laid waste, is among the mostabandoned and maltreated of our poor.”
A small group has started reading and discussing the 2015 Encyclical of Pope Francis entitled Laudato Si’: On Care For Our Common Home in which he asks all people of the world to consider humanity’s impact on the Earth and all sentient beings. We have finished reading a few chapters and would like to share some of Pope Francis’ insights.
The first chapter was hard for us to read because it describes the many facets of the crisis we face.
The stability of our climate impacts every living species, particularly the poorest among us. “The climate is a common good, belonging to all and meant for all.” (p.20)
Water pollution and scarcity are daily realities for the poor. “Our world has a grave social debt towards the poor who lack access to drinking water, because they are denied the right to a life consistent with their inalienable dignity.” (p.25)
The deterioration of our quality of life is directly proportional to the deterioration of the environment. “We were not meant to be inundated by cement, asphalt, glass and metal, and deprived of physical contact with nature.” (p.32) Pollution, waste, and “throwaway culture” are destroying the natural world. “In many parts of the planet, the elderly lament that once beautiful landscapes are now covered with rubbish.”
Environmental degradation is widening the gap between the rich and the poor. “The impact of present imbalances is…seen in the premature death of many of the poor, in conflicts sparked by the shortage of resources, and in any number of other problems which are insufficiently represented on global agendas.” (p.34)
The response to the environmental crisis has been weak. “There are too many special interests, and economic interests easily end up trumping the common good and manipulating information so that their own plans will not be affected.” (p.39)
While the reality of the environmental crisis is grim, there is still hope.
We meet on Wednesdays at 11 a.m. in the Church Office Conference Room. You are invited to join us for this very important discussion.