God gave us a bountiful garden, but we have turned it into a polluted wasteland of “debris, desolation and filth” . We must not be indifferent or resigned to the loss of biodiversity and the destruction of ecosystems, often caused by our irresponsible and selfish behaviour.
Global warming continues, due in part to human activity: 2015 was the warmest year on record, and 2016 will likely be warmer still. This is leading to ever more severe droughts, floods, fires and extreme weather events. Climate change is also contributing to the heart-rending refugee crisis. The world’s poor, though least responsible for climate change, are most vulnerable and already suffering its impact.
God gave us the earth “to till and to keep” in a balanced and respectful way. To till too much, to keep too little, is to sin.
The protection of our common home requires a growing global political consensus. Along these lines, I am gratified that in September 2015 the nations of the world adopted the Sustainable Development Goals, and that, in December 2015, they approved the Paris Agreement on climate change, which set the demanding yet fundamental goal of halting the rise of the global temperature. Now governments are obliged to honour the commitments they made, while businesses must also responsibly do their part. It is up to citizens to insist that this happen, and indeed to advocate for even more ambitious goals.
Changing course thus means “keeping the original commandment to preserve creation from all harm, both for our sake and for the sake of our fellow human beings.” A single question can keep our eyes fixed on the goal: “What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up?One Spirit,