We must care for our home and all its inhabitants. This is a responsibility incumbent upon us all to a greater or lesser extent. That is part of Pope Francis’s message in his encyclical, Laudato Si,on the environment, which takes a message of ecology to every corner of the globe by making protection of the Earth a priority for the Catholic Church.
Over its 190 pages, the document brings together established scientific concepts, speaks of humans’ responsibility in climate change, links the impact of environmental destruction to global poverty, and calls for concrete actions by developed countries to combat global warming. During the encyclical’s presentation, it was clearly explained that the Pope is speaking as a pastor and not as a scientist or politician.
Nonetheless, it sparked a political storm, especially in our country where the debate on the environment is eminently political, given the economic interests of the energy sector, including the coal and oil industries.
For them and their conservative defenders, this is another test of a leftist Pope, opposed to progress and under the influence of alarmists at the United Nations.
There is also a sector of the U.S. Catholic hierarchy that is uncomfortable with the encyclical, despite the fact that prior Popes have previously addressed the topic. The church’s proximity to conservative groups on issues such as abortion and gay marriagemay have given rise to skepticism about climate change and humans’ role in it.
The rift between climate change alarmists anddeniers is one way to leave twosimilar viewpoints on an issueunresolved, which is wrong. Climate change, the greenhouse effect, the impact of carbon dioxide and the melting of the poles are realitiesbeing studied, and scientists—with few exceptions—are convinced that they are attributable to human activity.
For a long time it was said that creation was at humans’ disposal for their use. That entails a responsibility for wisely managing natural resources for all. That is neither politics nor science. It is common sense.