Laudato Si 183: Environmental Impact Assessment

Earth from Apollo 8The encyclical letter Laudato Si is available here on the Vatican website.

183. Environmental impact assessment should not come after the drawing up of a business proposition or the proposal of a particular policy, plan or program. It should be part of the process from the beginning, and be carried out in a way which is interdisciplinary, transparent and free of all economic or political pressure.

Environmental impact should be assessed from the first stages, but it is not always easy to foresee all consequences.

It should be linked to a study of working conditions and possible effects on people’s physical and mental health, on the local economy and on public safety.

Note the importance given to human mental health.

Economic returns can thus be forecast more realistically, taking into account potential scenarios and the eventual need for further investment to correct possible undesired effects.

As we know, future economic liabilities are not always calculated.

A consensus should always be reached between the different stakeholders, who can offer a variety of approaches, solutions and alternatives. The local population should have a special place at the table; they are concerned about their own future and that of their children, and can consider goals transcending immediate economic interest.

An important point:

We need to stop thinking in terms of “interventions” to save the environment in favor of policies developed and debated by all interested parties. The participation of the latter also entails being fully informed about such projects and their different risks and possibilities; this includes not just preliminary decisions but also various follow-up activities and continued monitoring.

And another point:

Honesty and truth are needed in scientific and political discussions; these should not be limited to the issue of whether or not a particular project is permitted by law.

Just because something is not illegal doesn’t mean it is moral. Or advisable.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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1 Response to Laudato Si 183: Environmental Impact Assessment

  1. Atheist Max says:

    Science alone provides the reason and the motive for urgently addressing Climate Change. I don’t see the benefit of bringing a religious argument to it.
    Until recently religion has argued against doing anything about Climate Change; i.e., The will of God, Man’s dominion, God’s plan… and all that…

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