Pope Francis Addresses “Predatory Attitude” Towards the Planet With Laudato Si Initiative

Pope Francis        Photo: Screenshot Vatican News Service Video

By Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer

On Tuesday, Pope Francis launched an initiative to make Catholic institutions environmentally sustainable in seven years with the overarching goal of protecting the environment and the poor from climate change. This initiative is called the Laudato Si Action Platform, named after the pope’s 2015 encyclical on protecting the environment. In a video message about the Laudato Si Action Plan, Pope Francis emphasized that humans have long taken a “predatory attitude” towards the planet and that it “makes us feel that we are masters of the planet and its resources, and authorizes us to make irresponsible use of the goods God has given us.”

Why this Matters:  Spiritual leaders across faiths have been taking a stand against climate change. On November 16th, 2020, 47 faith institutions— 42 representing Catholics— announced their divestment from fossil fuels. Meanwhile, The Vatican has nearly eliminated single-use plastic, recycles most of its trash, and makes its own compost for its gardens. The Laudato Si initiative will work on developing sustainable practices for families, parishes, and diocese, schools and universities, hospitals and other health care facilities, businesses, lay Catholic organizations, and orders of priests and nuns.

A Seven-Year Journey

Pope Francis explained that the initiative is “a seven-year journey that will see our communities committed in different ways to becoming totally sustainable, in the spirit of integral ecology.”  The Laudato Si program had prioritized reducing wasteful, unsustainable lifestyles and fought for environmental justice, protecting the poor from the worst of climate disasters. 

Francis said: “These wounds (to the planet) manifest themselves dramatically in an ecological crisis without precedent, which affects the ground, the air, water and, in general, the ecosystem in which human beings live. We have a great responsibility, especially with regard to the future generations. What world do we want to leave to our children and our young? Our selfishness, our indifference and our irresponsible ways are threatening the future of our children.”

He supports the Paris accords, and he plans to attend the United Nations’ Climate Change Conference in November in Glasgow, Scotland.

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