Pope's Deep Green Dive: 'Our Home' Looks Like 'Pile of Filth'

Humans' 'unethical consumerism' has spurred our current environmental 'crisis'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 18, 2015 6:56 AM CDT
Francis' Deep Green Dive: 'Our Home' Looks Like 'Pile of Filth'
Pope Francis waves as he arrives for his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican yesterday.   (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

Three days after it was leaked online (amid whispers the leak may have been an inside job), Pope Francis' long-awaited encyclical on the environment was officially released today, and he doesn't mince words in describing today's environmental issues as "one small sign of the ethical, cultural and spiritual crisis of modernity" and in calling for the self-sacrifice and "bold cultural revolution" required to stave off climate change, the AP reports. Some highlights and reaction:

  • Despite assertions to the contrary, the pope contends in "Laudato Si" ("Praise Be") that there's "a very solid scientific consensus" to support claims of global warming, and that it's "mainly" happening because of human activity. "The earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth," he writes, per the Washington Post.
  • Francis puts the onus of ponying up funds to battle this environmental crisis on richer nations, which he says owe an "ecological debt" to the rest of the world since they extract natural resources from poorer parts for their own consumption—a system the pope calls "structurally perverse."

  • While he pushes for more regulation to curb climate change, the pontiff says we really need a "changing ethical worldview," as the AP puts it, in which people are the first priority. That includes making every decision about the environment by taking "into account the fundamental rights of the poor and underprivileged" and ceasing our "unethical consumerism" (he includes a reminder to turn off the lights).
  • For insiders worried the pope is straying too far from church doctrine with his new pet project, Francis backed it up with Catholic mandates, including a reference to a biblical statement to "'till and keep' the garden of the world," notes the New York Times.
  • The pope even penned two new prayers on the subject, with one that asks God to bring "healing to our lives, that we may protect the world and not prey on it."
  • One person who's pleased: The director of Italy's Greenpeace, described by the Post as "jubilant." "[Francis] is giving us a moral legitimacy to continue campaigning," he tells the paper. "Climate change is now an issue of social justice."
(More Pope Francis stories.)

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