Got a chance to catch up with Andrew Revkin, NYTimes Dot Earth editor/contributor. He played a significant part of a meeting last year with Pope Francis, which was focused on climate change, corporate greed and getting our act together as a species. That four-day meeting was likely the basis for this encyclical and Andy has some great insights to share about it.
Listen up then read on for my post…
First of all, let me just note that I’m not Catholic.
In fact have been somewhat of an anti-papist for most of my life.
I’ve never, until Pope Francis, believed that any of these old dudes on high with the power and wealth of the Vatican behind them have been particularly good spokesmen for God. (warning: slight rant coming.) Not when they’ve had the power to stop requiring Catholic women to willfully populate the earth with more good little Catholics, with little regard to their own health and well being, but have mostly continued to uphold these archaic doctrines, of which there are too many for me to rant about here.
So, for ME to dig a Pope and to be able to use the word “inspired” is a lot. I’m definitely inspired by Pope Francis, but not likely to sprint to the nearest Catholic church or anything.
In case you don’t know why the Pope is a rock star to even us non-Catholics, he has written an encyclical letter entitled, Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home. It’s a bit lengthy for a letter, but he uses some mighty words and references to blast us humans for not paying attention to Mother Earth. He references one of my favorite saints, as if I even knew anything about other saints, St. Francis of Assisi, for whom he chose his own pontiff name.
Right in the opening, he quotes St. Francis and references him as the “patron saint of all who study and work in the area of ecology.” He writes that St. Francis, shows us how “inseparable the bond is between concern for nature, justice for the poor, commitment to society and interior peace.”
And thus the Bishop of Rome proceeds to outline over the next 180+ pages ways we can work together to make things better, including community cooperatives and renewable energy.
He pretty much blasts politicians with statements like:
“The myopia of power politics delays the inclusion of a far-sighted environmental agenda.”
And after calling out the greed in our political system and pretty much referencing the U.S. bank bailouts directly he states:
“A politics concerned with immediate results, supported by consumerist sectors of the population is driven to produce short-term growth.”
He takes the opportunity to slam greedy politicians a bit more making this awesome pitch to God:
“I beg the Lord to grant us more politicians who are genuinely disturbed by the state of society, the people, the lives of the poor!”
Pope Francis urges us to recognize that climate change is real and it is certainly enhanced or accelerated by man, and it is our ethical and moral duty to stop plundering and start paying attention.
“We have come to see ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled to plunder her at will.”