The Papal Encyclical, key quotes
On June 18, 2015, Pope Francis issued an encyclical (a letter to all Bishops worldwide) calling for changes in lifestyles and energy consumption to avert the “unprecedented destruction of the ecosystem” before the end of this century. The pontiff warned the Bishops that failure to act would have “grave consequences for all of us”.
Francis also called for a new global political authority tasked with “tackling … the reduction of pollution and the development of poor countries and regions”.
Following are some of the key points of the encyclical:
The Earth is our home
“The Earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth. In many parts of the planet, the elderly lament that once beautiful landscapes are now covered with rubbish.”
“Never have we so hurt and mistreated our common home as we have in the last 200 years.”
“We are not God. The Earth was here before us and was given to us.”
“Doomsday predictions can no longer be met with irony or disdain.”
Our shared humanity and our responsiblities
“We are not faced with two separate crises, one environmental and the other social, but rather one complex crisis which is both social and environmental.”
“The climate is a common good, belonging to all and meant for all.”
“We need to strengthen the conviction that we are one single human family.”
“We must regain the conviction that we need one another, that we have a shared responsibility for others and the world, and that being good and decent are worth it.”
“What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up? The question not only concerns the environment in isolation; the issue cannot be approached piecemeal.”
Progress vs. Resources
“The idea of infinite or unlimited growth, which proves so attractive to economists, financiers and experts in technology … is based on the lie that there is an infinite supply of the earth’s goods, and this leads to the planet being squeezed dry at every limit.”
“The exploitation of the planet has already exceeded acceptable limits and we still have not solved the problem of poverty.”
“It has become countercultural to chose a lifestyle whose goals are even partly independent of technology.”
“When media and the digital world become omnipresent, their influence can stop people from learning how to live wisely, to think deeply and to love generously. In this context, the great sages of the past run the risk of going unheard amid the noise and distractions of an information overload.”
“We need to reject a magical conception of the market, which would suggest that the problems can be solved simply by an increase in the profits of companies or individuals.”
“What would induce anyone, at this stage, to hold on to power only to be remembered for their inability to take action when it was urgent and necessary to do so?”
Is climate change man-made?
“A very solid scientific consensus indicates that we are presently witnessing a disturbing warming of the climatic system. … A number of scientific studies indicate that most global warming in recent decades is due to the great concentration of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrogen oxides and others) released mainly as a result of human activity.
“There can be no renewal of our relationship with nature without a renewal of humanity itself.”
“Yet all is not lost. Human beings, while capable of the worst, are also capable of rising above themselves, choosing again what is good, and making a new start.”