During an address to crowds gathered at the Vatican this week, Pope Francis explained why creation care and environmental stewardship are issues that Christians must take seriously. Though he spoke about the practical reasons why environmentalism was an important cause (“If we destroy Creation, Creation will destroy us!”), the pope also explained why ultimately, it is a spiritual issue.
Creation is not a property, which we can rule over at will; or, even less, is the property of only a few: Creation is a gift, it is a wonderful gift that God has given us, so that we care for it and we use it for the benefit of all, always with great respect and gratitude … But when we exploit Creation we destroy the sign of God’s love for us, in destroying Creation we are saying to God: ‘I don’t like it! This is not good!’ ‘So what do you like?’ ‘I like myself!’ – Here, this is sin! Do you see
The statements come just weeks after the Vatican hosted a five-day meeting of scholars, scientists, economists, astronomers and other thinkers at a summit called “Sustainable Humanity, Sustainable Nature, Our Responsibility.” According to Think Progress, the mission of the gathering was to “discuss ways for the Catholic church to address a range issues caused by climate change” … Discuss
A skyscraper made out of wood sounds like a pretty radical idea, but if the plans for this 34-story building are chosen as part of a design competition, it could become a reality by 2023. The designs are from a Scandinavian architecture firm for a massive new apartment complex in Stockholm, Sweden, and its designers say that wooden skyscrapers could offer a much more eco-friendly option than concrete and steel. According to the firm, traditional construction accounts for 30-40 percent of all CO2 emissions, but a wooden building would decrease emissions and produce far less waste … Discuss
Yesterday, the Pope dedicated his message to the United Nations World Environment Day, discussing what’s wrong with a culture of consumerism as well as the need for creation care. With recent stats showing that nearly a third of food produce for consumption is wasted or thrown out, the Pope said that things must change:
This culture of waste has made us insensitive even to the waste and disposal of food, which is even more despicable when all over the world, unfortunately, many individuals and families are suffering from hunger and malnutrition … Once our grandparents were very careful not to throw away any leftover food. Consumerism has led us to become used to an excess and daily waste of food, to which, at times we are no longer able to give a just value. Throwing away food is like stealing from the table of the poor and the hungry.
In addition to challenging the Church to reevaluate consumption in light of world hunger, the Pope also said that believers must take God’s call to care for His creation seriously. “Are we truly cultivating and caring for creation? Or are we exploiting and neglecting it? Cultivating and caring for creation is God’s indication given to each one of us not only at the beginning of history. It means nurturing the world with responsibility and transforming it into a garden, a habitable place for everyone” … Discuss