In his encyclical on the environment, Pope Francis describes a society based on taking from our planet more than it can give back and taints the land, air, and sea with toxic waste as morally bankrupt.
Pope Francis also said that the economy of exclusion on which this society is built pushes the poor to the margins of society. Plus, the poor pay the highest price of environmental disasters and extreme temperatures.
The head of the Roman Catholic Church also urged world leaders to take into account social justice when discussing environmental issues “so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.”
And, Pope Francis’ view on climate change and ecological reconstruction echoes the vision of many other Christian faith leaders across the world. For instance, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of the Orthodox Christian churches was dubbed the “Green Patriarch” for his upright stance on environmental issues.
In 2014, leaders of the Lutheran churches signed the Statement on Climate Justice which requires churches to take the necessary steps to reduce carbon footprint to neutral levels by 2050.
About a decade ago, the USA-based National Council of Churches of Christ, which is a partnership of 37 different types of Christian churches, asked its members to take action on global warming. But for the Roman Catholic leader, global warming needs to be tackled first and foremost from a moral perspective.
Religious leaders from Lutheran World Relief (LWR), anon-for-profit group focused on tackling extreme poverty and help the victims of natural and ecological disasters, recently announced that climate change is not a theoretical concept. It affects millions of people worldwide.
LWR leaders also urged Congress to take action on rising temperatures which affect the poor and the sick more than the rest of the population. These people, LWR also said, lack the resources to face these problems.
“As Americans enthusiastically welcome Pope Francis on his first visit to our country, I am hopeful that his presence will help Americans and our leaders transcend partisan debate,”
wrote one of the LWR faith leaders in a letter addressed to Congress.
In South America, climate change has a direct impact on local communities. Because of rising temperatures coffee crops can no longer sustain high yields at lower elevations. As a result, poor families must relocate to cooler areas in order to survive, if they can. In El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras coffee production was reduced to a half because of rising temperatures and drought.
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