“In this way, we hope to arrive at a ‘critical mass’ needed for radical societal transformation invoked by Pope Francis in Laudato Si’,” the dicastery document states.
The Laudato Si’ Action Platform and its related goals resemble the United Nations’ own Sustainable Development Goals. The U.N. agenda lays out a blueprint for the global community by 2030 to achieve 17 goals addressing a range of issues, among them: poverty, inequality, peace, hunger, water access, gender equality, clean energy and climate action.
The seven Laudato Si’ goals address a range of areas related to sustainability and ecological conversion:
- Response to the cry of the Earth: work toward carbon neutrality through greater use of clean renewable energy and reduced fossil fuel use; support efforts to protect and promote biodiversity and guarantee water access for all.
- Response to the cry of the poor: defend human life from conception to death and all forms of life on Earth, while giving special attention to vulnerable groups such as indigenous communities, migrants and children at risk of trafficking and slavery.
- Ecological economics: sustainable production, fair trade, ethical consumption and investments, investments in renewable energy, divestment from fossil fuels and limiting any economic activity harmful to the planet or people.
- Adoption of simple lifestyles: reduce use of energy and resources, avoid single-use plastics, adopt a more plant-based diet, reduce meat consumption and increase use of public transportation over polluting alternatives.
- Ecological education: redesign curricula around integral ecology, create ecological awareness and action, promote ecological vocation with young people and teachers.
- Ecological spirituality: recover a religious vision of God’s creation, promote creation-centered liturgical celebrations, develop ecological catechesis and prayers and encourage more time in nature.
- Emphasis on community involvement and participatory action around creation care at all levels of society by promoting advocacy and grassroots campaigns.
For months, the dicastery has explored ways to mark the five-year anniversary of what it called the pope’s “watershed” encyclical on the environment and human ecology.
In Laudato Si’, Francis issued an “urgent challenge” to the entire world “to protect our common home.” He encouraged cultivating a deeper relationship with God’s creation, alongside actions to address the multitude of ecological crises facing the planet, including climate change, deforestation and threats to biodiversity that jeopardize the survival of upward of 1 million plant and animal species.
The release of the dicastery’s plans was delayed partly by the coronavirus pandemic. The document says the five-year anniversary comes “in the midst of another watershed moment,” the pandemic, adding: “The encyclical can indeed provide the moral and spiritual compass for the journey to create a more caring, fraternal, peaceful and sustainable world.”
“We have, in fact, a unique opportunity to transform the present groaning and travail into the birth pangs of a new way of living together, bonded together in love, compassion and solidarity, and a more harmonious relationship with the natural world, our common home,” it said.
Quoting the encyclical, the document adds: “Truly, COVID-19 has made clear how deeply we are all interconnected and interdependent. As we begin to envision a post-COVID world, we need above all an integral approach as ‘everything is closely interrelated and today’s problems call for a vision capable of taking into account every aspect of the global crisis.’ “
The integral human development dicastery sketched out a full calendar of events for the Laudato Si’ special anniversary year.
In June, the dicastery plans to release operational guidelines for other Vatican offices to implement the encyclical. On June 18, the anniversary of the release of Laudato Si’, it will hold a webinar assessing the impact of the text and where it goes next.
CLEVELAND — A large majority of Catholic voters believe climate change is a serious or somewhat serious concern and that governments at all levels as well as corporations and individuals must take stronger action to address it, according to results of a new poll released Oct. 22.
Conducted Oct. 13 by Climate Nexus, Yale University Program on Climate Change Communication and George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication, the online poll showed that 78% of nonwhite Catholics and 74% of white Catholics who participated consider climate change a serious or somewhat serious problem.
At the same time, 82% of nonwhite Catholics and 77% of white Catholics said they are very worried or somewhat worried about climate change.
The responses of Catholics are higher than the poll average, which found 73% of respondents overall, including those with no religious affiliation, held the same views. The same percentage of voters overall said they worry about climate change.
The poll interviewed 1,884 registered voters. The number included 87 nonwhite Catholics and 310 white Catholics, or about 21% of respondents. Its margin of error is plus or minus 2.4 percentage points.
The results were not surprising to Dan Misleh, executive director of the Catholic Climate Covenant.
“What it looks like is happening is more and more people and communities are experiencing impacts of climate change firsthand, and are now realizing that maybe there’s something to what the scientists are saying and that we probably need to address it,” Misleh told Catholic News Service.
Misleh credited Pope Francis and his continuing efforts to discuss the importance of protecting creation and the need to reach out to poor communities that are the most vulnerable to climate change as factors influencing the thoughts of Catholics.
The pope throughout his papacy has addressed environmental concerns, climate change and the connection of people to the earth. His messages have come most notably in the 2015 encyclical, Laudato Si’, on Care for Our Common Home, the declaration of a Laudato Si’ year that began in May to mark the document’s fifth anniversary, and his most recent encyclical, Fratelli Tutti, on Fraternity and Social Friendship.
Dry farmland is seen in Calipatria, Calif., in this 2015 file photo. A preelection poll finds that a large majority of Catholic voters have some concern about climate change. (CNS/Reuters/Mike Blake)
The poll indicates that 71% of voters overall support government action to address climate change as well. Among Catholics, 75% of nonwhite voters and 77% of white voters support such a government response.
Catholics respondents supported congressional response to climate change, at about 75%, followed by support for state government action at about 72% and local government action at about 71%.
Meanwhile, 73% of nonwhite Catholics and 79% of white Catholics felt corporations should be doing much more or somewhat more to address climate change.
In addition, 79% of all Catholic poll participants said they felt a personal sense of responsibility to help address climate change.
Support for the Green New Deal initiative proposed by several members of Congress also gained high Catholic support, with 74% of nonwhite Catholics and 77% of white Catholics approving of the plan.
As introduced, the Green New Deal would direct government investments in infrastructure improvements, wind and solar energy, and boosting efficiency of transportation systems and energy usage in buildings to reduce carbon pollution.
The poll found similar levels of support among Catholic voters for job training and wage guarantees to workers who lose jobs in the fossil fuel industries as the transition to noncarbon energy sources occurs, federal stimulus spending that prioritizes clean energy infrastructure and increases in government funding for renewable energy as part of the economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
In tabulating the results, the poll outlined responses from Jews, other non-Christians, mainline Protestants, other Christians, Black Protestants, white evangelicals and those who are unaffiliated with any religion.
It also polled voters with individual questions on issues such as discrimination based on religious belief, gun violence, the federal response to the pandemic, the economic impact of the pandemic, police violence against people of color and air pollution.