Pope Francis’s new initiative for the planet, the papal letter Laudate Deum released on Wednesday 4th October, is another Call to Action, following on from the 2015 encyclical Laudato Si’ – since, as the Holy Father said, “our responses have not been adequate”.
Laudate Deum is another, more urgent call to Catholics, faith leaders and like-minded people around the world to transform social and economic life in order to tackle the #ClimateCrisis.
Pope Francis states clearly that “climate change is one of the principal challenges facing society and the global community” – and warns of the critical dangers of relativising what is an existential crisis for humankind, and of further delays to decisive action.
Regrettably, Pope Francis says, “the climate crisis is not exactly a matter that interests the great economic powers, whose concern is with the greatest profit possible at minimal cost and in the shortest amount of time.”
We can already see the deadly impacts of this crisis around the world – floods, fires, drought, displaced people – and these are expected to accelerate, disproportionately so for people in low-income, fragile, and low-lying countries in the Global South.
In Laudate Deum, Pope Francis is again urging faith communities to lead the way on the social, economic, political and policy changes needed to tackle the climate, biodiversity, and pollution crises – and related human crises – facing the earth.
Already, faith organisations are calling for a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty to end new fossil fuel projects, rapidly and equitably phase out existing production, and ensure a just transition – with climate financing, and Loss And Damage funds, for unfairly affected countries, especially in the Global South.
Pope Francis urges a new, reconfigured multilateralism with renewed and effective decision-making procedures to challenge the current sources of power that are not serving the planet well, to pay more attention to effective cooperation, attention to human rights, and protection of our common home.
Laudate Deum notes, in particular, how the Conference of Parties (COP) climate summits are not ensuring that change happens to address Climate Crisis at the required level and speed. COP28 can only be the type of “historic event” required if it delivers binding changes that are drastic, intense, and have the commitment of all.
Pope Francis also calls for continuing changes to attitudes and behaviours, lifestyles, and consumption, at personal, family and community levels in rich countries – to demonstrate a cultural shift on climate change, and care for our common home.
At the same time, Laudate Deum recognises that the most effective solutions will not come from individual efforts alone, but above all from major political decisions at national and international levels that guide and shape society and economy – and urges people to be actively engaged in engaging with power.
Time to stand with the victims of environmental and climate injustice, transform the public policies ruling our lives, and end the senseless war on ‘our common home’.
By Eamonn Casey, Misean Cara Human Rights and Advocacy Officer
Photos and graphics courtesy of Society of Jesus and Dicastery For Promoting Integral Human Development