Laudato Si’ is an encyclical of Pope Francis published in May 2015. It focuses on care for the natural environment and all people, as well as broader questions on the relationship between God, humans, and the Earth.
It a living document that isn’t just about faith but is a call to action to all people regardless of race, gender, creed, and orientation – it is about challenging how society works and addressing global inequalities and the human roots of the ecological crisis.
The encyclical speaks in detail about the moral imperative to address climate change and because the threat of the crisis has grown only more severe since the encyclical’s publication – Laudato Si’ is about driving a message for positive change and, equally, a message of hope – hope that humanity can work together united.
Laudato Si’ affirms the “very solid scientific consensus” that climate change is occurring as well as the evidence that human activity is the primary driver of global warming (LS 23). As Pope Francis stresses, climate change is “one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day” (LS 25) and that existing efforts to reduce climate change have been deeply inadequate.
What is so special about Laudato Si’ is not only its message of hope but in calling out injustices and the imbalance of power, the encyclical does not shy away from highlighting the selfishness and greed of individuals and corporations, “many of those who possess more resources and economic or political power who seem mostly to be concerned with masking the problems or concealing their symptoms” (LS 26).
At the core of Laudato si is climate justice and a real understanding that humanity must address a two-faced crisis. One of nature, the environment, and its eco-systems and the other, regarding the socio-cultural problems of the human world, poverty, marginalisation and the ever-widening gap between the rich and the poor.
As Pope Francis states:
“We are faced not with two separate crises, one environmental and the other social, but rather with one complex crisis which is both social and environmental. Strategies for a solution demand an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the excluded, and at the same time protecting nature” (LS 139).
Climate action without justice will not solve the problems of inequality, poverty and the inevitable damage fossil fuels and emissions inflict upon the planet. Only through solutions founded on equity can we bring about sustainability for the future.
Leaving no one behind and calling for a holistic approach to climate action is at the very core of Laudato Si’
To learn more about our projects focused on ‘caring for our common home’ & for more information on Laudato Si’ week