Our Common Home: Laudato Sí – Chapter 1: Our Present Reality

Pope Francis reminds us that:

  • We cannot fail to consider the effects on people’s lives of environmental deterioration, current models of development and the throwaway culture in which we live.
  • We can no longer sweep under the carpet the questions that are troubling us today:
  1. Pollution: Hundreds of millions of tons of toxic radioactive waste flood our life systems each year.
  2. Warming of the climate: Its effect is accompanied by a constant rise in the sea level, threatening the most vulnerable of all living systems, human and otherwise.
  3. Water poverty: It prevails in the poorest nations where large sectors of the population have no access to safe drinking water.
  4. Loss of biodiversity: Each year sees the disappearance of thousands of plant and animal species which we will never know again.
  5. Breakdown of human society: “Progress” has not led to an integral development and an improvement in the quality of life.
  6. Global inequality: A true ecological approach always integrates questions of justice with concerns for the environment so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.

Implications and Challenges

  • Our current “throwaway culture” affects the entire planet and has implications for our own lives.
  • We need to strengthen the conviction that we are one single human family. There are no frontiers or barriers, political or social, behind which we can hide; still less is there room for the globalization of indifference.
  • We can see signs that things are now reaching a breaking point due to the rapid pace of change and degradation. The present world system is certainly unsustainable.

Response – Reflect, Discuss, Pray, Act 

“Hope would have us recognize that there is always a way out, that we can always redirect our steps and that we can always do something to solve our problems.”

  • Do I recognize the “throwaway culture” in my own experience? How do I buy in? How do I resist?
  • How do I understand the notion “the climate is a common good?”
  • What specific efforts am I / are we making to respond to the seriousness of the threat to Our Common Home?
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