Pope Francis and the importance of environmental leadership

Pope Francis delivered his Encyclical Letter this week and once again reminded all about the impact that such leadership can have in one of the most pressing global issues facing us today. 

In taking a firm stand on climate change and other issues threatening 'Our Common Home,' Pope Francis continues to be a beacon of hope for so many people - Catholic or otherwise - as he galvanizes overwhelming public support for a stronger stance on climate change and the social and environmental issues that threaten our way of life. 

His letter was packed full of everything we know as common sense, but also know as something on which our political leadership continues to drag its heels. The overall message we should take from this, as people who share this common vision, is that we should never give up, never lose hope, and never take a backward step in the fight for our planet. 

At Sunistics, we agree he's the #PopeofHope, and celebrate his leadership on this issue that is our reason for being. Here are some of our favorite excerpts from this historical and visionary piece:

The Climate is a common good:

The climate is a common good, belonging to all and meant for all. At the global level, it is a complex system linked to many of the essential conditions for human life. A very solid scientific consensus indicates that we are presently witnessing a disturbing warming of the climatic system.

In recent decades, this warming has been accompanied by a constant rise in the sea level and, it would appear, by an increase of extreme weather events, even if a scientifically determinable cause cannot be assigned to each particular phenomenon.

It is true that there are other factors (such as volcanic activity, variations in the earth’s orbit and axis, the solar cycle), yet 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.

A Dialogue is needed between science and religion:

Science and religion, with their distinctive approaches to understanding reality, can enter into an intense dialogue fruitful for both.

God did not create Earth for us to do whatever we want with it:

We are not God. The Earth was here before us and it has been given to us. This allows us to respond to the charge that Judaeo-Christian thinking, on the basis of the Genesis account which grants man “dominion” over the Earth (cf. Gen 1:28), has encouraged the unbridled exploitation of nature by painting him as domineering and destructive by nature.

This is not a correct interpretation of the Bible as understood by the Church.

Climate change will hit the poor hardest:

Climate change is a global problem with grave implications: environmental, social, economic, political and for the distribution of goods. It represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day. Its worst impact will probably be felt by developing countries in coming decades.

Humanity has a duty to protect the environment, rather than exploit it:

Because of us, thousands of species will no longer give glory to God by their very existence, nor convey their message to us. We have no such right.

It's tempting to deny or ignore the problem, so don't do this:

Such evasiveness serves as a license to carrying on with our present lifestyles and models of production and consumption. This is the way human beings contrive to feed their self-destructive vices: trying not to see them, trying not to acknowledge them, delaying the important decisions and pretending that nothing will happen.