Pope Francis: To Overcome Hunger, Environmental Degradation, and Economic Distress, Refuse to Leave People on the Margins

via Pope Francis:

In the four years since the publication of the Encyclical, there have certainly been signs of an increased awareness of the need to care for our common home. I am thinking of the adoption, by many nations, of the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations Organization; a growing investment in renewable and sustainable energy sources; new methods of energy efficiency; and a greater sensitivity, especially among young people, to ecological concerns.

At the same time, however, a number of challenges and issues still remain. For example, progress on the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals has in some cases been slow and even non-existent, or, sadly, has regressed. Improper use of natural resources and models of development that are not inclusive and sustainable continue to have negative effects on poverty, social growth and social equality (cf.  Laudato Si’, 43, 48).  Laudato Si’ is not a “green” encyclical: it is a social encyclical.  Don’t forget this. Moreover, the common good is placed in jeopardy by attitudes of unbridled individualism, consumption and wastefulness. All this makes it difficult to promote economic, environmental and social solidarity and sustainability within a more humane economy which considers not only the satisfaction of immediate desires but also the welfare of future generations. Faced with the enormity of such challenges, it would be easy to lose heart, giving in to uncertainty and anxiety. Yet, “human beings, while capable of the worst, are also capable of rising above themselves, choosing again what is good, and making a new start” (ibid., 205)….

Striving to overcome problems such as hunger and food insecurity, persistent social and economic distress, the degradation of ecosystems, and a “culture of waste” calls for a renewed ethical vision, one that places persons at the center, desiring to leave no one on the margins of life. A vision which unites rather than divides, includes rather than excludes.