ENCYCLICAL “CARE FOR OUR COMMON HOME”: a vibrant call for ambitious, urgent and fair action to protect our environment, to stop climate change and to end poverty.

ACT Alliance EU warmly welcomes the new Encyclical “Laudato si’” on Care for our Common Home, published last week, from Pope Francis, and its analysis and recommendations to tackle seriously the issues of climate change and environmental degradation which threaten God’s creation, all of humanity, and especially the poorest who are the worst affected.

The Pope and the Catholic community have very publicly joined the body of scientists, civil society groups, activists and many others who have been raising awareness of climate change and its terrible consequences which threaten the future of the planet and of its inhabitants. It is our duty to preserve and to take care of what has been given to us and to pass it on to our children in at least a good a state as in which we received it. If we, individually and collectively do not take swift and radical action we will be unable to keep global warming below the dangerous threshold of 2ºC.

“The World Council of Churches welcomes Pope Francis’ encyclical which catalyses what churches and ecumenical organizations have been doing for decades – caring for the earth and fighting for climate justice. By affirming human induced climate change and its impacts on the poorest and most vulnerable communities, the Encyclical is an important call to urgently act as individuals, citizens and also at the international level to effectively respond to the climate crisis.” Dr Guillermo Kerber, Programme Executive on Care for Creation and Climate Justice, World Council of Churches.

By recognising the latest scientific findings of the international community, the Catholic Church is sending a strong and urgent message to politicians, communities and to people of all generations to act on climate change and environmental degradation. With intellectual rigour, thoroughness and spiritual coherence the encyclical denounces the systemic issues of climate change, environmental degradation and poverty which are caused mainly by our selfish and foolish ways of life.

The encyclical states:

“Yet it would also be mistaken to view other living beings as mere objects subjected to arbitrary human domination. When nature is viewed solely as a source of profit and gain, this has serious consequences for society. This vision of “might is right” has engendered immense inequality, injustice and acts of violence against the majority of humanity, since resources end up in the hands of the first comer or the most powerful: the winner takes all. Completely at odds with this model are the ideals of harmony, justice, fraternity and peace as proposed by Jesus.”

Indeed our constant pursuit of growth, accumulation of goods, and over-consumption are increasing economic and social inequalities, polluting our air, land and oceans, and depleting the earth’s resources. Our current way of life cannot be sustained within planetary resource boundaries, it excludes many and creates increasing inequality. This inequality is evident within Europe but also between developed and developing countries. The Encyclical clearly sets out the links between climate change and inequality.

It is also a great call to action: it underlines the need for us to act now for climate justice by adopting a collective and meaningful worldwide agreement to drastically reduce our greenhouse gas emissions; a paradigm shift of our economies towards low carbon and socially fair development; a solidarity mechanism which enables the poorest and most vulnerable to adapt to climate change and which compensates them for climate change induced loss and damage. This year three major international meetings will shape our common future: the Third International Conference on Financing for Development in Addis Ababa in July, a new set of sustainable development goals to be agreed upon at the United Nations in September, and a new agreement on climate change to be reached the Climate Conference in Paris (COP 21) in December.

“The Pope’s encyclical cogently links the issues of climate change, environmental degradation, poverty, inequality and economic injustice and calls for our response. After 200 years of development based on intense – and unequal – use of natural resources, and especially of fossil fuels, we have a moral duty to limit and repair the damage we have caused – to act now for a better life for all inhabitants of our planet. We call upon our world leaders to adopt a strong and meaningful agreement on climate change at the end of this year, acting together for the common good and paying special heed to needs and rights of the poor.” Floris Faber, Director, ACT Alliance Adocacy to the European Union.

Press Releases:
CIDSE http://www.cidse.org/newsroom/press-release-cidse-echoes-the-pope-s-call-for-global-solidarity-to-fight-climate-change-and-inequality-through-the-encyclical-laudato-si.html
Climate Action Network http://www.climatenetwork.org/press-release/civil-society-reactions-papal-encyclical-climate-action
ACT Alliance http://www.actalliance.org/stories/listen-to-wisdom-save-the-planet

More information and opinions on our Climate blog: actclimate.eu