Laudato Si 143: Cultural Ecology

Earth from Apollo 8The encyclical letter Laudato Si is available here on the Vatican website. What is Cultural Ecology?Sections 143-146 look at the topic, which involves a bit more subtlety than the destruction of ancient monuments.

143. Together with the patrimony of nature, there is also an historic, artistic and cultural patrimony which is likewise under threat. This patrimony is a part of the shared identity of each place and a foundation upon which to build a habitable city. It is not a matter of tearing down and building new cities, supposedly more respectful of the environment yet not always more attractive to live in. Rather, there is a need to incorporate the history, culture and architecture of each place, thus preserving its original identity.

This requires artists. I’ve known architects who were certainly artistic in equal proportion to their skills as engineers. At least in my country, the hurdle is a certain pragmatic approach: save money and provide the minimal effort needed to build new.

Ecology, then, also involves protecting the cultural treasures of humanity in the broadest sense. More specifically, it calls for greater attention to local cultures when studying environmental problems, favoring a dialogue between scientific-technical language and the language of the people. Culture is more than what we have inherited from the past; it is also, and above all, a living, dynamic and participatory present reality, which cannot be excluded as we rethink the relationship between human beings and the environment.

About catholicsensibility

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