Note: This blog is based on and extends a short presentation at aLighter Footprints climate action group monthly meeting in Melbourne on 24 June.
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When I first heard early this year about the forthcoming papal encyclical on nature and climate change, my first reaction was that this could be one of the biggest moments so far in climate politics but, like many scientific “tipping points”, that can only be judged well after the fact. That Pope Francis will be addressing the UN General Assembly and the US Congress on consecutive days in September 2015, the drawing of his title from Francis of Assisi (patron saint of nature), and his training as a chemist all suggest that this issue is a core concern and his advocacy is far from over.
Laudato si, on the care of our common home was issued on 18 June and described by an editorial inThe Guardian as “the most astonishing and perhaps the most ambitious papal document of the past 100 years…[it] sets out a programme for change that is rooted in human needs but it makes the radical claim that these needs are not primarily greedy and selfish ones”. Some key points:
- It is addressed to everyone, to “every person living on this planet”, and not just to Catholics: “Whether believers or not, we are agreed today that the earth is essentially a shared inheritance, whose fruits are meant to benefit everyone.”
- Nature is not separate from us: “When we speak of the ‘environment’, what we really mean is a relationship existing between nature and the society which lives in it. Nature cannot be regarded as something separate from ourselves or as a mere setting in which we live. We are part of nature…”…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…