“Laudato Si” or “Praised be You” is the title of the much anticipated encyclical from Pope Francis, which will be somewhat longer than ECO and just as devoted to the future of our planet and people. It will talk not only about climate but broadly of the environment and human development. Anticipated for release on the 18th of June, it will explore the relationship between care for creation and concern for the poor. It will help Catholics and all people, Heads of States and governments to rediscover the spiritual roots of ecology, and it will remind us all of our common moral imperative to act and have an ambitious long-term goal to reducing emissions.
The encyclical is being released ahead of both of the key UN negotiations on sustainable development and climate. In his message to COP20 in Lima, Pope Francis noted the “clear, definitive and ineluctable ethical imperative to act.” In the event, the outcome of COP20 fell short of ECO’s expectations. Pope Francis too described the results as “nothing great” and showing a distinct lack of “political will”.
Integral ecology, as the basis for justice and development in the world, requires a new global solidarity, one in which everyone has a part to play and every action, no matter how small, can make a difference. This will be Pope Francis’ message to world leaders. He will challenge them to be courageous and to take decisions that go beyond technical and economic considerations, and instead prioritise solidarity and the protection of the poorest and most vulnerable people and communities. He will call on them to put the needs of the poorest before blind protection of any economic system. Dear negotiators, are you up for the challenge?
Civil society is certainly ready to take up the challenge. On 28 June there will be a multi-faith/civil society march from Rome to St. Peter´s Square in the Vatican to show support for the Pope´s climate change advocacy and his encyclical. Mini-marches are also planned from peoples of faith and activists everywhere in the world.