The Pope and the Environment
Since May 2015 there has been much discussion of the Papal Encyclical regarding the environment, ‘Laudato Si’. It is significant, not because it is the first paper to address environmental issues, but along with environmental statements from other religious groups, places the environment in a theological context that addresses the decline in the quality of the world we live in.
It gives a Christian perspective on the environmental debate and empowers Christians to participate more effectively in the call to address environmental issues.
It speaks to the role that humanity has had in harming the environment and discusses this damage in the context of its impact on individuals, communities and nations – no-one being exempt from the damaging impacts of human activities on the planet.
- pollution and climate change
- fresh water and the impact of pollution
- the growing loss of biodiversity
- the decline in the quality of human life and societal breakdown
- the growth of global inequality
as critical issues that have emerged ,threatening survival on this planet.
There is a strong argument regarding the human roots to the ecological crisis being faced across the planet and the impacts of technology, creativity and power. Because mankind is self-centred, there are various issues that are associated with the exploitation of one group over another that cause damage to people and to our environment.
The document does outline various approaches to address this global crisis, requiring individuals, communities and nations to be transparent in communication and decision making, these all having environmental impacts.
From a Christian perspective the encyclical calls for a personal response to the Gospel message, encouraging a new and different lifestyle that is positive toward environmental issues as well as being positive towards other members of society.
It is useful for members of HRLN to have an appreciation of the wider debate regarding our environment as this helps to give a broader context to our individual activities and projects.
L J Pearson September 2015
The full encyclical is available from; http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/encyclicals/documents/papa-francesco_20150524_enciclica-laudato-si.html
where it can be downloaded as a pdf file.