By Jaazeal Jakosalem, ARCORES International’s president
“I wanted to share with all of you, my brothers and sisters of our suffering planet, my heartfelt concerns about the care of our common home. Yet, with the passage of time, I have realized that our responses have not been adequate, while the world in which we live is collapsing and may be nearing the breaking point. In addition to this possibility, it is indubitable that the impact of climate change will increasingly prejudice the lives and families of many persons. We will feel its effects in the areas of healthcare, sources of employment, access to resources, housing, forced migrations, etc.” (LD, 2)
The document is classified as an apostolic exhortation, Laudate Deum is a pastoral message by the pope written directly for Catholics to make clear commitments on climate change, this time to pressure the incoming COP 28 event in Dubai. The document has six key elements: 1. The Global Climate Crisis; 2. A Growing Technocratic Paradigm; 3. The Weakness of International Politics; 4. Climate Conferences: Progress and Failures; 5. What to Expect from COP28 in Dubai?; 6. Spiritual Motivations.
The global climate crisis
The clear and present danger is undeniable, Pope Francis says “the signs of climate change are here and increasingly evident…”; this time confronting the climate deniers and even green-washing climate apologists.
The exhortation maximizes the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) findings and reports, re-enforcing the message of Laudato Si’ with scientific data on the climate crisis.
He refers to climate change as a global reality that must be addressed seriously by politicians, business leaders, and institutions. His concerns for the climate crisis always have implications for social injustice, that this has affected the poor and will have severe impacts on jobs and livelihood.
He clearly repudiates the usual blame game on the poor, richer countries, or high-polluting countries not assuming full responsibility for the crisis, he says “richer percentage of the planet contaminates more than the poorest 50% of the total world population, and that per capita emissions of the richer countries are much greater than those of the poorer ones”. (LD 9)
He highlights the human origin of climate change by introducing the word “anthropic”, he illustrates clearly the human impacts as analyzed and presented by scientific reports.
In Laudato Si’, he mentions the ‘tragic consequence of unchecked human activity…’ (LS, 4) and in the document Querida Amazonia he states ‘the great majority become extinct for reasons related to human activity…(QA, 54).
Still, in the Laudato Si’ encyclical, he identifies the following Anthropocene-related references, namely: tyrannical anthropocentrism, distorted anthropocentrism, modern anthropocentrism, excessive anthropocentrism, and misguided anthropocentrism; providing an understanding of the human origin of the climate crisis. Thus, he says “it is verifiable that specific climate changes provoked by humanity are notably heightening the probability of extreme phenomena that are increasingly frequent and intense.” (LD, 5)