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What is Pope Francis' encyclical on the future of our planet?

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What is Pope Francis' encyclical on the future of our planet?


If you missed Pope Francis’ encyclical on the future of our planet, never fear! We’ve rounded up a list of quotes to sum up the six-chapter document.

Deemed an historic document, ‘Praise be to You: on care for our common home,’ will undoubtedly have an impact on millions of people the world over.

‘My appeal’

It begins with an introduction and an appeal.

“The urgent challenge to protect our common home includes a concern to bring the whole human family together to seek sustainable and integral development.”

“I urgently appeal, then, for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet.”

Chapter I. What is happening to our common home

“Exposure to atmospheric pollutants produces a broad spectrum of health hazards, especially for the poor.”

“These problems are closely-linked to a throwaway culture, which affects the excluded just as it quickly reduces things to rubbish.”

“Even as the quality of available water is constantly diminishing, in some places there is a growing tendency, despite its scarcity, to privatise this resource, turning it into a commodity, subject to the laws of the market.”

The chapter continues, discussing the problems incurred by the loss of biodiversity, a decline in the quality of life, inequality and the lack of a strong response to these issues.

Chapter II. The Gospel of Creation

This and chapter six are the most “religious” in the encyclical.

“Science and religion, with their distinctive approaches to understanding reality, can enter into an intense dialogue fruitful for both,” it reads.

“It is good for humanity and the world at large when we believers better recognise the ecological commitments, which stem from our convictions.”

Chapter III. The human roots of the ecological crisis

Technology, the globalisation of technocracy and the “crisis and effects of modern anthropocentrism” are each analysed in chapter three.

“It would hardly be helpful to describe symptoms without acknowledging the human origins of the ecological crisis.”

“I propose that we focus on the dominant technocratic paradigm and the place of human beings and of human action in the world.”

Chapter IV. Integral ecology

“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.”

“Every violation of solidarity and civic friendship harms the environment. In this sense, social ecology is necessarily institutional, and gradually extends to the whole of society, from the primary social group, the family, to the wider local, national and international communities.”

“Doomsday predictions can no longer be met with irony or disdain. We may well be leaving to coming generations debris, desolation and filth.”

Chapter V. Lines of approach and action

The encyclical now turns to proposing solutions to the problems laid out.

“The strategy of buying and selling “carbon credits” can lead to a new form of speculation, which would not help reduce the emission of polluting gases worldwide.”

“For poor countries, the priorities must be to eliminate extreme poverty and to promote the social development of their people.”
“Enforceable international agreements are urgently needed, since local authorities are not always capable of effective intervention.”

“The growing problem of marine waste and the protection of the open seas represent particular challenges.”

The encyclical encourages greater dialogue surrounding environmental policies, as well as an open dialogue between religion and science.

“The majority of people living on our planet profess to be believers. This should spur religions to dialogue among themselves for the sake of protecting nature, defending the poor, and building networks of respect and fraternity.”

Chapter VI. Ecological education and spirituality

“A great cultural, spiritual and educational challenge stands before us, and it will demand that we set out on the long path of renewal.”

It suggests an evolution to a “new lifestyle” will be the solution.

“If we can overcome individualism, we will truly be able to develop a different lifestyle and bring about significant changes in society.”

“I ask all Christians to recognise and to live fully this dimension of their [ecological] conversion”.

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