Laudato Si 20: Pollution, Waste and the Throwaway Culture

Earth from Apollo 8The encyclical letter Laudato Si is available here on the Vatican website. Let’s look at a summary of the issues of “pollution and climate change.” First, Pope Francis raises an issue not novel to him: the throwaway culture. First up, waste products from daily life:

20. Some forms of pollution are part of people’s daily experience. Exposure to atmospheric pollutants produces a broad spectrum of health hazards, especially for the poor, and causes millions of premature deaths. People take sick, for example, from breathing high levels of smoke from fuels used in cooking or heating. There is also pollution that affects everyone, caused by transport, industrial fumes, substances which contribute to the acidification of soil and water, fertilizers, insecticides, fungicides, herbicides and agrotoxins in general.

What do you make of this diagnosis?

Technology, which, linked to business interests, is presented as the only way of solving these problems, in fact proves incapable of seeing the mysterious network of relations between things and so sometimes solves one problem only to create others.

One liturgy parallel that comes to mind is the reinforcing cycles of acoustical treatment in church interiors and more powerful sound systems. Sometimes the best idea is to simplify. That doesn’t always benefit technology or business persons, but the instinct not to pile on solutions is often worth serious consideration.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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