I’m not Catholic but if there was anyone who could get me to switch my views about religion it’s Pope Francis. Since elected in 2013, he has been steadily ticking off the boxes of all the social ills of our modern society. He’s now turned his attention to climate change and I couldn’t be happier.
In his latest encyclical, On Care for our Common Home, he writes, “The urgent challenge to protect our common home includes a concern to bring the whole human family together to seek a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change.” He calls for “a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet. We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all.”
Already certain politicians are poo-pooing the encyclical. Jeb Bush, who is running for the U.S. presidency said that “religion ought to be about making us better people, less about things [that] end up getting into the political realm.” A ridiculous statement on at least two fronts.
First, the Pope is urging, through this latest encyclical, that people do just that, be better stewards of the planet and all of the life it supports. Second, climate change is political; an unfortunate truth, but it’s been made political by those who want to keep the status quo (and all their toys), by those who don’t want to change, or who think that change is too difficult.
The Pope has every right to challenge us. Not because he’s the Pope but he’s walking the walk, as well as talking the talk. Vatican City is the smallest nation state in the world, but it is also now the greenest. It installed a 100 MW solar array in 2010, generating enough energy to power all 40,000 of its households. And the Pope Mobile? You guessed it, it’s electric.