Pope Francis, Calling on Moral Action for Climate Justice
September 16, 2015
The papal visit on September 24, 2015 will make United States history as Pope Francis is the first pope to address a joint session of Congress. The pope’s address to Congress marks a significant shift on the discussion of climate change into an inclusive dialogue on how human beings across the globe can be proactive in curbing climate change.
The visit follows Pope Francis’ June 18th, 2015 release of the ‘Laudato Si,’ which transcends religious, geographic, and cultural boundaries as it urges “each community’s…duty to protect the earth and to ensure its fruitfulness for coming generations” Specifically, ‘Laudato Si’ focuses on the need for “people to live simpler lives instead of striving for a life of consumption,” which results in the victimization of the world’s poor. In the wake of the ‘Laudato Si’ release, Jewish and Islamic leaders have derived inspiration from Pope Francis to take action and address their own communities and the world about environmental conservation.
In the Rabbinic Letter on Climate Crisis, the Jewish community calls for “the unity of justice and Earth-healing.” In doing so, the Jewish community acknowledges the “worsening inequality of wealth, income, and political power” and its direct impact on the climate crisis. The letter addresses the global community as it recognizes, “that in all culture and all spiritual traditions there are teachings about the need for setting time and space aside for celebration, restfulness, [and] reflection” of the earth.”
The Islamic Climate Declaration asserts the religious duty of the Muslim people to be proactive in combating climate change. According to the declaration, “human activity is putting such a strain on the natural function of the earth that the ability of the plant’s ecosystem to sustain future generations can no longer be taken for granted.” Furthermore, the declaration prompts multinational organizations, individual national leaders, corporations to join in the “collaboration, co-operation and friendly competition in this endeavor and we welcome the significant contributions taken by other faiths, as we can all be winners in this race” to reduce climate change.
The pope’s address to Congress comes at a crucial time in the discussion of the climate crisis and care for our common home. We stand with Pope Francis on climate justice and encourage America to honor the moral duty to address the climate crisis. Join us on the National Mall between 7:30AM and 12:30PM to call for climate action!
Laney Allison, Intern