Our fossil fuel road is nearly at its end... will we harvest renewable energy?
Is our future with brother wind and sister sun? (Pictures from Bay Port, Michigan...)
While I was away in Michigan for vacation, I had the wonderful opportunity to live on a farm that was surrounded by wind farms harvesting energy from the wind, which was abundant. It was in this context that I read the pope's encyclical. I did not agree with everything that was written but I came away knowing he was speaking to everyone (rather than an in-house memo) and laying out his concerns for the world.
It was well written and deserves our attention and action. He not only touches on the environment and climate changes, but really looks at the issues in a very holistic way.
Here are some quotes from the encyclical, my favorites in bold:
“LAUDATO SI’, mi’ Signore” – “Praise be to you, my Lord”. In the words of this beautiful canticle, Saint Francis of Assisi reminds us that our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us. “Praise be to you, my Lord, through our Sister, Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us, and who produces various fruit with coloured flowers and herbs”.
This sister now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her. We have come to see ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled to plunder her at will. The violence present in our hearts, wounded by sin, is also reflected in the symptoms of sickness evident in the soil, in the water, in the air and in all forms of life. This is why the earth herself, burdened and laid waste, is among the most abandoned and maltreated of our poor; she “groans in travail” (Rom 8:22). We have forgotten that we ourselves are dust of the earth (cf. Gen 2:7); our very bodies are made up of her elements, we breathe her air and we receive life and refreshment from her waters."
"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."
"The exploitation of the planet has already exceeded acceptable limits and we still have not solved the problem of poverty."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"Doomsday predictions can no longer be met with irony or disdain."
"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."
"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."
"There can be no renewal of our relationship with nature without a renewal of humanity itself."
"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."
"Nobody is suggesting a return to the Stone Age, but we do need to slow down and look at reality in a different way."
"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?"
"It must be said that some committed and prayerful Christians, with the excuse of realism and pragmatism, tend to ridicule expressions of concern for the environment. Others are passive; they choose not to change their habits and thus become inconsistent. So what they all need is an “ecological conversion”, whereby the effects of their encounter with Jesus Christ become evident in their relationship with the world around them. Living our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork is essential to a life of virtue; it is not an optional or a secondary aspect of our Christian experience."Read the encyclical for yourself, here.