One year ago this spring, Pope Francis released his landmark encyclical letter on ecology, Laudato Sí, which called upon all of us to serve as diligent stewards of creation. Pope Francis delivered this message with great urgency — and with good reason. Climate change is already having severe impacts around the world that prevent some people, especially the poor and vulnerable, from enjoying the goods of creation, which God intends for everyone. If we fail to take action, we ignore our moral obligation to protect human life, prevent suffering, care for the poor and leave behind a safe world for future generations.
One year after Laudato Sí, issued on May 24, 2015, I am concerned that our country has yet to fully reckon with this powerful message. While covering a host of ecological issues, Pope Francis points to the deepest cause of our societal problems: our disconnection from one another. We see this disconnection clearly in the issue of climate change: While the seas rise and diseases spread in a warming climate, we must remember that we share a common home and our lives are intertwined. Drought, water scarcity and violent conflict — whether here or abroad — affect people everywhere. In the words of Rev. Marin Luther King Jr., “Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” Pope Francis gives us the moral and spiritual framework to realize our interconnectedness and to do right by our sisters and brothers around the world and for future generations….
Climate change is not an issue that is decades away; it is affecting us right now. And addressing climate change is a moral imperative for all of us. How well we uphold our obligation affects our brothers and sisters across the globe and will have enormous consequences for the health and safety of our children and grandchildren. With immense impacts facing our country and the world, climate change deserves a more prominent place in our national conversation.
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