In his recent encyclical “On Care For Our Common Home,” Pope Francis calls for all humankind to work together to address the effects of climate change. Climate change raises air and water temperature, which produces frequent and severe storms. It increases chances of draughts, wild fires, coastal storms and rising sea levels (Daniels, Page 4). Climate change — in large part a result of greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel consumption — affects our health, housing, employment, finances, access to healthy food, drinking water and more.
What makes the Pope Francis’ encyclical important if the science and faith communities have already warned us about climate change? It is important because of its urgent nature. We urgently need to address climate change because the people who are affected by it the most are the poor.
The Pope’s messages in the encyclical—intentional or not—makes him the much needed champion of the cause. No matter how important an issue is, it won’t get traction without an enthusiastic and trusted champion. The Pope is one of the world’s influential and respected faith leaders. He has devoted his life to serving the poor. And as a bonus, he has a Master’s degree in chemistry.
Most significantly, the Pope’s urgent call to action is not damning but rather enlightening, for the “Creator does not abandon us; he (sic) never forsakes his (sic) loving plan or repents of having created us. Humanity still has the ability to work together in building our common home” (13). We can reverse climate change if we take action together. The earth is a live and can be mended.
It is time for those of us who deny climate change to acknowledge what is happening to the earth and the effort helping reverse the years of environmental exploitation. It is also time for those of us on the sidelines to take action. Governments, businesses, faith communities and millions of individuals are already taking action; it’s time to optimize our efforts.
Now for some fun! Please enjoy John Oliver's take on the climate change debate.