Last week, Pope Francis released a landmark document that outlined the Catholic Church’s official position on climate change.
The papal encyclical, titled “On Care for Our Common Home,” made it clear to the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics – including at least three Republican climate change deniers running for President – that reducing greenhouse gas pollution is a moral necessity, not just a political or economic issue.
The poor, especially in Africa, suffer disproportionately from droughts, heat waves, flooding and famine caused by global warming. And the Pope wrote that the scientific evidence is clear: This warming is being driven by a culture of consumption in rich nations, including the United States.
“We have come to see ourselves as (the Earth’s) lords and masters, entitled to plunder her at will,” Pope Francis wrote. “The violence present in our hearts, wounded by sin, is also reflected in the symptoms of sickness evident in the soil, in the water, in the air and in all forms of life.”
The implication is that denying the science – or doing nothing – is not just wrong. It’s a deadly sin. And the pope went beyond just the issue of climate change. He pointed to a wave of environmental problems being caused by over consumption, including deforestation, water shortages, and mass extinctions of animals and plants.