An overview of pope francis encyclical letter on the environment
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Praised be you, my Lord, through Sister Water, who is very useful and humble and precious and chaste. Yet we are called to be instruments of God our Father, so that our planet might be what he desired when he created it and correspond with his plan for peace, beauty and fullness. Even as the quality of available water is constantly diminishing, in some places there is a growing tendency, despite its scarcity, to privatize this resource, turning it into a commodity subject to the laws of the market. In my Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium , I wrote to all the members of the Church with the aim of encouraging ongoing missionary renewal. Instead of resolving the problems of the poor and thinking of how the world can be different, some can only propose a reduction in the birth rate. Inequity affects not only individuals but entire countries; it compels us to consider an ethics of international relations. The earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth. There is an urgent need to develop policies so that, in the next few years, the emission of carbon dioxide and other highly polluting gases can be drastically reduced, for example, substituting for fossil fuels and developing sources of renewable energy. A simple example is the increasing use and power of air-conditioning. Today, however, we have to realize that a true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor. Moreover, the goals of this rapid and constant change are not necessarily geared to the common good or to integral and sustainable human development. We see this, for example, in the law of the Sabbath. Exposure to atmospheric pollutants produces a broad spectrum of health hazards, especially for the poor, and causes millions of premature deaths. In light of this reflection, I will advance some broader proposals for dialogue and action which would involve each of us as individuals, and also affect international policy.
This will require undertaking a careful inventory of the species which it hosts, with a view to developing programmes and strategies of protection with particular care for safeguarding species heading towards extinction. Warming has effects on the carbon cycle. In practice, we continue to tolerate that some consider themselves more human than others, as if they had been born with greater rights.
More than fifty years ago, with the world teetering on the brink of nuclear crisis, Pope Saint John XXIII wrote an Encyclical which not only rejected war but offered a proposal for peace.
The poverty and austerity of Saint Francis were no mere veneer of asceticism, but something much more radical: a refusal to turn reality into an object simply to be used and controlled. We know how important these are for the entire earth and for the future of humanity.
The great majority become extinct for reasons related to human activity.
All of this helps us to see that every intervention in nature can have consequences which are not immediately evident, and that certain ways of exploiting resources prove costly in terms of degradation which ultimately reaches the ocean bed itself. While the technocratic paradigm i.
An overview of pope francis encyclical letter on the environment
Many of those who possess more resources and economic or political power seem mostly to be concerned with masking the problems or concealing their symptoms, simply making efforts to reduce some of the negative impacts of climate change. Let us mention, for example, those richly biodiverse lungs of our planet which are the Amazon and the Congo basins, or the great aquifers and glaciers. At the same time, Bartholomew has drawn attention to the ethical and spiritual roots of environmental problems, which require that we look for solutions not only in technology but in a change of humanity; otherwise we would be dealing merely with symptoms. The land of the southern poor is rich and mostly unpolluted, yet access to ownership of goods and resources for meeting vital needs is inhibited by a system of commercial relations and ownership which is structurally perverse. He is the patron saint of all who study and work in the area of ecology, and he is also much loved by non-Christians. If we are truly concerned to develop an ecology capable of remedying the damage we have done, no branch of the sciences and no form of wisdom can be left out, and that includes religion and the language particular to it. Outside the Catholic Church, other Churches and Christian communities — and other religions as well — have expressed deep concern and offered valuable reflections on issues which all of us find disturbing.
Many cities are huge, inefficient structures, excessively wasteful of energy and water. Let us review, however cursorily, those questions which are troubling us today and which we can no longer sweep under the carpet.
The urgent challenge to protect our common home includes a concern to bring the whole human family together to seek a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change.
Care for our common home
Thus he underlines that the problems that concern all can be solved only by all. But the church has no particular expertise in science This is particularly the case with a number of themes which will reappear as the Encyclical unfolds. Never have we so hurt and mistreated our common home as we have in the last two hundred years. Such evasiveness serves as a licence to carrying on with our present lifestyles and models of production and consumption. Gen Inequity affects not only individuals but entire countries; it compels us to consider an ethics of international relations. Such notions would end up creating new imbalances which would deflect us from the reality which challenges us. Caring for creation is one of the seven tenants of Catholic Social Teaching. Yet access to safe drinkable water is a basic and universal human right, since it is essential to human survival and, as such, is a condition for the exercise of other human rights. Instead of resolving the problems of the poor and thinking of how the world can be different, some can only propose a reduction in the birth rate.
The harmony between the Creator, humanity and creation as a whole was disrupted by our presuming to take the place of God and refusing to acknowledge our creaturely limitations.
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