Laudato Sii means “Praised be You.” It is taken from St. Francis of Assisi’s lovely prayer “Canticle of the Sun,” which praises God through elements of creation like Brother Sun, Sister Moon, and “our sister Mother Earth.” Many are looking forward to the encyclical, many are not. I find it so weird that many of those with a vested interest in profiting from the Earth’s resources and peoples are disparaging the encyclical even before it is issued and read.
I myself believe that climate change is for real and that it poses great dangers for the Earth and all its peoples. As I’ve said so often, Mother Nature can get along beautifully without us. But we can’t get along without her; which is why I can’t understand why there is this insistence on poisoning our home and ultimately affecting our attitudes and livelihoods.
It’s not just about saving this or that exotic plant or animal. It’s far far deeper than that. It’s about whether you and I and hundreds of millions of other people have clean air to breathe and clean water to drink. It means extreme weather, as we’ve seen in Texas and Oklahoma a few weeks ago, and in Boston this past winter. It’s drought bringing rising prices for food. Hay fever season has increased by 13 extra days in southern Wisconsin. Birds that winter in the north are flying 40 miles further north in order to find climate to their liking. Melting ice caps in the Artic and Antarctic have resulted in increased flooding in South Florida one commentator said that by 2060, Miami would become a popular snorkeling destination!
In the US the issue is significantly more politicized than in other countries and often a rejection or acceptance of climate change is based on political leanings much more than it is on a comprehension of the subject. That’s scary, because knowledge is power. To know what’s happening and to know the possible effects is to bring to bear the powers of the human intellect and human compassion that are needed to bring change.
As Jesus and his Father did with Job and the apostles, may God speak to us out of the coming storms and inspire us to make the needed personal and corporate changes.