A warning to stop the warming By: Brigid McNally

Upon reading Pope Francis’s encyclical, Laudato Si, I found that his writings directly correlate with my major studies in a number of ways. I wish to explain the importance of Laudato Si in regards to current political debates.
I will take up three valued commitments shared by both the encyclical and my undergraduate studies...

The Environment

The Economy

And Social Justice

Pope Francis calls for action to curb climate change
Pope Francis offers a plea in Laudato Si, a text of such landmark significance that it has become arguably the most important source of Catholic social teaching in modern times. The Pope calls the earth our "common home", which is like our sister and our mother. We are damaging this sacred relationship, however, as we continue to harm the environment. In doing so, we are damaging our relationship with other humans, particularly those least equipped to defend themselves: the poor and future generations. He believes we are forgetting our interconnectedness of the earth and those around us.

In May of 2017, Pope Francis met with President Trump (and it got a little awkward.) During their meeting, the Pope presented Mr. Trump with a copy of Laudato Si in light of the President’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate accord.

What is the Paris Climate Accord?

An agreement between 196 nations to individually, as well as collectively, reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to avoid the worst repercussions of climate change, which would greatly and permanently harm millions of people, countless ecosystems, and the global economy. the Paris Climate accord incorporates global participation, with every country participating in emission reductions. Each country determines, plans, and regularly reports on its own contribution it should make in order to mitigate climate change.

Here you will find a list of all of the countries that have signed the Paris Climate Agreement.

The Church's Catholic social teachings are a manifestation of how the Church guards itself and attempts to warn against forms of modern cognitive dissonance.

Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan claims that he has been greatly influenced by Catholic social teachings. Many of his actions in Congress, however, counteract this assertion. By coming out against the Paris Climate Agreement, Speaker Ryan is clashing with the Pope on many fronts.
In paragraph 175 of Laudato Si, Pope Francis makes an appeal for this relationship of environmental degragation and the poor. "The same mindset which stands in the way of making radical decisions to reverse the trend of global warming also stands in the way of achieving the goal of eliminating poverty. A more responsible overall approach is needed to deal with both problems: the reduction of pollution and the development of poorer countries and regions." Because he rejects the Paris Accord, Speaker Ryan is essentially enabling these harmful situations to advance.
Speaker Ryan took to Twitter his feelings on the Paris climate agreement. He issued the statement: “The Paris climate agreement was simply a raw deal for America. Signed by President Obama without Senate ratification, it would have driven up the cost of energy, hitting middle-class and low-income Americans the hardest. In order to unleash the power of the American economy, our government must encourage production of American energy. I commend President Trump for fulfilling his commitment to the American people and withdrawing from this bad deal.”
The Speaker fails to acknowledge, however just how badly the "low-income Americans" that he is referring to are effected by our poor climate.
Much like Speaker Ryan's statement above, in today’s modern global economy, all governments think that the solutions to their economic woes all point to more growth.
Governments need to focus more on sustainability, however, rather than growth.
Pope Francis best explains this when he says, in paragraph 109 of Laudato Si, "Some circles maintain that current economics and technology will solve all environmental problems, and argue, in popular and non-technical terms, that the problems of global hunger and poverty will be resolved simply by market growth. They may not affirm such theories with words, but nonetheless support them with their deeds by showing no interest in more balanced levels of production, a better distribution of wealth, concern for the environment and the rights of future generations."
Environmental degregation has an immense impact on the poor. Pope Francis stresses that our economies must work to be redistributive by design. Our generation needs to devise our technologies and our institutions to distribute wealth, power, and money to many, rather than just the top one percent.
As an alternative to a worldview based upon profit, Pope Francis advocates for economies based upon solidarity and care for creation. Solidarity within the Catholic tradition refers to the idea that “all are responsible for all” and that we have a positive obligation to seek the common good, not just what benefits us as individuals.
"The human environment and the natural environment deteriorate together; we cannot adequately combat environmental degradation unless we attend to causes related to human and social degradation. We cannot presume to heal our relationship with nature and the environment without healing all fundamental human relationships.”
“Everyone’s talents and involvement are needed to redress the damage caused by human abuse of God’s creation.” -Pope Francis

Environmentalist and politician Al Gore addressed our need for action when he said that we ought to approach this challenge with gratitude. We are the generation about which, a thousand years from now, poets and singers will celebrate by saying that we were the ones that found it within ourselves to solve this crisis and lay the basis for a bright and optimistic human future

“We must regain the conviction that we need one another, that we have a shared responsibility for others and the world, that being good and decent are worth it.”
“We are capable of rising above ourselves, choosing again what is good, and making a new start.” The problems we are presented with are big and urgent, but hope remains if we choose to act in honesty, in solidarity, and in love.

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