In his encyclical letter Laudato si’ (LS) addressed ‘to every person living on this planet,’ Pope Francis boldly claims that “climate change represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity today.” A stable and livable climate is a common good, he says, belonging to all and meant for all. (LS 23)
People of faith see the Earth as essentially a shared inheritance: they faithfully see that the fruits of the Earth are meant to benefit everyone. For us, this becomes a question of fidelity to the Creator, since God created the world for everyone and all of life. In our modern parlance, every ecological approach – the way we use the Earth – needs to incorporate a social perspective that takes into account the fundamental rights of the poor and the underprivileged. (LS 93)
We already know that damage to the natural environment has enormous repercussions to those living in affected areas. Global warming and subsequent climate change will disrupt all our lives in many ways, from economic impacts to the uprooting of people. This challenges us to redefine our notions of growth and progress. It poses a lifestyle question.
It is imperative that we find a solution that approaches a global consensus of nations and economies. Because of the scale and global nature of climate disruption, we must strive for a solidarity that is universal, a solidarity that draws us together as one people on this Earth, now and generations to come.
Pope Francis calls the world “our common home” – our one and only place, meant for the nurturing of all people and living things. This calls for an integral ecological approach that seamlessly blends stewardship of the Earth with care and concern of one another – “so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.” (LS 49)
Moment of Action
During the month of November, Catholic groups and communities are acting to change the global dialogue on climate change. The upcoming Conference of Parties (COP21) taking place in Paris, France, is a critical moment for the international community to move on protecting “our common home”.
Here are actions and resources for your consideration:
- Petition drive by the Global Catholic Climate Movement (CRL is a member of this Movement)
- The Catholic Climate Movement also offers this toolkit for download
- This brief video (1:17 min) expresses the concern of the Holy See
- This Climate Reality link provides more ways to become involved during November