I am re-reading Laudato Si, Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment. At this time, when Climate Change is being dismissed as a hoax, it is good to have a pope who knows the issue and insists on our responsibility to do something about it.
In his address to the United Nations General Assembly last year, Pope Francis said:
It must be stated that a true “right of the environment” does exist, for two reasons. First, because we human beings are part of the environment. We live in communion with it, since the environment itself entails ethical limits which human activity must acknowledge and respect. Humans beings, for all their remarkable gifts, which “are signs of a uniqueness which transcends the spheres of physics and biology,” (Laudato Si’, 81) is at the same time a part of these spheres. Human beings possess a body shaped by physical, chemical and biological elements, and can only survive and develop if the ecological environment is favourable. Any harm done to the environment, therefore, is harm done to humanity. Second, because every creature, particularly a living creature, has an intrinsic value, in its existence, its life, its beauty and its interdependence with other creatures. We Christians, together with the other monotheistic religions, believe that the universe is the fruit of a loving decision by the Creator, who permits man respectfully to use creation for the good of his fellow human beings and for the glory of the Creator; he is not authorised to abuse it, much less to destroy it. In all religions, the environment is a fundamental good.
We need to live simpler, more sustainable lives. The health of the planet and our existence depend upon our choices and actions.