Respect for human life means respecting all of God’s creation

Pope Francis in Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home calls on every person to care for the earth and recognize how it impacts the most vulnerable people, those in poverty and those suffering injustice. Respect for human life means respecting all of God’s creation. Chapter one

“Creation is not a possession that we can dispose of as we please, much less a possession of only a few. Creation is a magnificent gift that God has given us to care for and use to the benefit of all, with respect,” the Pope said in an address in December 2014.

God has entrusted the world to us.. and appeals to us to “connect the destruction of the earth with human dignity…” and notice who we are harming with our irresponsible behaviors…        Chapter 5

We need ecological conversion

“The destruction of the human environment is extremely serious.”

“Never have we mistreated our common home…”     –Pope Francis   2013 – present

“To recognize that the natural environment has been gravely damaged…”   — Pope Benedict XVI 2005 – 2013

“ ..a tragic consequence of unchecked human activity: Due to ill–considered exploitation of nature.”     –Pope Paul VI   1963 – 1978

The Impact of our Waste

“The export of solid waste toxic liquids to developing countries and the pollution produced by companies which operate in less developed countries with far less regulations than we do at home causes great damage to the areas of poor communities

Environmental deterioration and human and ethical degradation are closely linked. Chapter 56

Our waste, and the pollution created in creating more products to replace what we throw away, impacts the poor and those suffering injustice.  (Those who cannot access filtered water systems, live near open air wasteland areas with no sanitary sewage, waste or water services; where food and water and safe shelter is scarce….)

The Throwaway Culture

“Whenever food is thrown out, it is as if it were stolen from the table of the poor

The US throws away 40% of the food produced   enough to feed the hungry in the world.

“In the landfills it decomposes and emits methane. Food waste and loss creates 3.3 gigatons of greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Food & Agriculture Organization.

“U.N. FAO (The Food and Agriculture Organization) says that all of the world’s roughly 800 million people who chronically experience hunger could be fed if food waste were completely eliminated.

Cities could save money on landfills, since food waste is the largest component of municipal solid waste.”

Electronic Waste Facts

Electronic waste… is the world equipped to deal with our fast growing demand of technology?

“We create 500 pounds of waste to make one IPHONE 7”

‘Okay, we’ll send our e-waste to China. Let them burn it. Let them have the pollution.’ 

“More than 50 million tons of e-waste will be generated this year…”

Until this year, under the Green Fence terms, millions of the devices made in China return there as electronics waste.

Catholic Resources

Below are some resources available to help guide all people to create dialogue

and action toward preserving our earth:

On Care for Our Common Home (Laudito Si’)

Catholic Climate Covenant

USCCB Caring for God’s Creation

Franciscan Action Network

Green Faith

Guide to Green Shopping

A Laudato Si’ Action Plan! from University of Georgia

University of Georgia Video on Laudato Si’ Action Plan

Catholic Social Teaching 101

CST 101 is a collaborative 7-part video series presented by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and CRS on Catholic social teaching. This video illustrates the principle Care for God’s Creation.

For other videos in the series, visit CRS’ YouTube channel.

Resources and ready to print or share handouts:

More on Catholic Social Teaching Principles