In Laudato Si’ Pope Francis addresses the danger of polluting our planet and urges people to be more environmentally cautious. He provides a Catholic perspective on these issues and outlines different arguments against pollution.
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The talking points of Pope Francis
In the first 19 paragraphs of his encyclical letter, Pope Francis focuses on the following information. He outlines the position of previous religious figures about how the planet Earth is a gift of God, but it should not be taken advantage of without considering the adverse effects humans can cause. He talks about how this issue affects everyone and that we must protect our “common home.” Pope Francis then describes how nature can be seen as a representation of God and therefore polluting it would be a sinful act. Later he talks about Saint Francis of Assisi as an example of a man who had a very strong connection to nature and saw its beauty when it is untouched by people. Pope Francis appeals to the people of the world for them to be more environmentally aware when they shape the future of the planet.
Also, he talks about how today’s environmental concerns often go unanswered because of indifference and opposition. Subsequently, Pope Francis calls for universal solidarity between people on the topic of the environment. He addresses many important issues that concern the environment. They include the throwaway culture, international and local policies, and the unique position humans have in this world. Lastly, Pope Francis talks about how the rapidly increasing pace of modern life leaves behind the pace of biological evolution, and how the goals of this pace are not always aligned with the common good. Pope Francis finishes the 19th paragraph talking about how recently people started changing their minds about being the “masters of nature” and states that our goal should be to become painfully aware of the way the world is suffering.
I liked the letter and found one aspect of it to be especially compelling. Although it is written by a highly regarded religious figure, it does not generalize this complex issue. The Pope mentioning the throwaway culture that is so prevalent today showed how he is in touch with the causes of pollution. It is not always a giant corporation that threatens our world, but our culture of buying the newest thing and throwing away the one we bought less than six months ago. With President Trump having no concern for global warming and the environment, this kind of plea to the people seems very prescient.
The recent discovery of a giant blob of warm water caused by massive die-offs of marine life has already caused increased levels of ozone in the atmosphere, with ozone-rich states like Ohio surpassing the allowed levels. Scientists have no record of any other event like this, and no one is sure about why this simultaneous death happened. No action has been done so far from the government to deal with this issue, and it is unlikely that a response would be timely if the situation turns for the worse. Pope Francis talks about how caring for the environment is a religious experience, and this made me question the lack of interest that religious people can sometimes have towards global warming. I could find no explanation for why a religious person would deny climate change or think that pollution is not an issue. Perhaps there is a connection to distrust of science, but Pope Francis does not shy away from scientific fact when he talks about this issue. This topic stuck with me, and I wish it would garner more attention.
Pope Francis outlined how nature should be respected and treated with care, while also focusing on the problems pollution can cause. His message is refreshing and is delivered in an informed manner.