Laudato Si 139: A Relationship Between Nature and Human Society

Earth from Apollo 8The encyclical letter Laudato Si is available here on the Vatican website. How people and the natural environment interact, intermix, and co-exist is at the root of the problem. Pope Francis suggests that we’re not talking about two separate crises, but rather one complex one with social and ecological sides. Do you agree? Read and comment, if you wish.

139. When we speak of the “environment”, what we really mean is a relationship existing between nature and the society which lives in it. Nature cannot be regarded as something separate from ourselves or as a mere setting in which we live. We are part of nature, included in it and thus in constant interaction with it. Recognizing the reasons why a given area is polluted requires a study of the workings of society, its economy, its behavior patterns, and the ways it grasps reality. Given the scale of change, it is no longer possible to find a specific, discrete answer for each part of the problem. It is essential to seek comprehensive solutions which consider the interactions within natural systems themselves and with social systems. We are faced not with two separate crises, one environmental and the other social, but rather with one complex crisis which is both social and environmental. Strategies for a solution demand an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the excluded, and at the same time protecting nature.

What do you think? Is the pope’s case for entwined problems a substantive one?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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