“Today, however, we have to realize that a true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor” Pope Francis, Laudato Si’.
As we recognize this fifth anniversary of Pope Francis’s encyclical letter, Laudato Si’ (On Care for Our Common Good), the Vinfam social justice collaborators have been discussing this topic over the past two monthly calls. There is a lot of great material available on climate change and the environment in addition to the need to take effective action on a global level. As Vincentians, we must always consider the negative effect that these changes have had and will continue to have on our most vulnerable citizens. The added burden of ecological changes to the everyday challenges of simply trying to provide for oneself and family is one that can leave a mark not easily erased. We must respond in a positive way to climate change and use every resource we have to educate others while advocating for the needed systemic change in the way North America and the world deal with the causes of climate change while supporting the need for immediate action.
Over the remaining months of 2020, and into 2021 may I suggest we look at ways we can use Laudato Si’ as our base as we seek to put a very human face to climate change. Perhaps by putting this human face to the effects of inaction or minimal action on the environment, we will be able to impress upon our leaders the need to act in a responsible and sustainable way that provides some level of hope for a safer world for all. Let us return to the opening excerpt from Laudato Si’ and follow the words of Francis who clearly combined our ecology and social issues and advised us to always remember to hear both the cry of the poor and the cry of the earth.
Please join us in a year long celebration of Laudato Si’ by supporting actions within your own congregations, organizations and groups. We can be a strong voice of advocacy within the Catholic Church to form a strong mandate of education and information to both the Catholic and non-Catholic populations of North America.