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What to do? The pope’s practical tips for helping the environment

What to do? The pope’s practical tips for helping the environment

POPE Francis’ encyclical “Laudato Si’, on Care for Our Common Home” is a call for global action as well as an appeal for deep inner conversion.

He points to numerous ways world organisations, nations and communities must move forward and the way individuals – believers and people of good will – should see, think, feel and act.

Here are some of the pope’s suggestions, with references in parentheses to their paragraphs in the encyclical:

– Do not give in to denial, indifference, resignation, blind confidence in technical solutions. (14, 59)

– Have forthright and honest debates and policies; issues cannot be dealt with once and for all, but will need to be “reframed and enriched again and again” by everyone with plenty of different proposals because there is no one way to solve problems. (16, 60, 185)

The cover of the English edition of Pope Francis' encyclical on the environment, "Laudato Si', on Care for Our Common Home." The long-anticipated encyclical was released at the Vatican June 18. Photo: CNS photo/courtesy U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The cover of the English edition of Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment, “Laudato Si’, on Care for Our Common Home.” The long-anticipated encyclical was released at the Vatican June 18. Photo: CNS photo/courtesy U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

– Reduce, reuse, recycle. Preserve resources, use them more efficiently, moderate consumption and limit use of non-renewable resources. (22, 192)

– Slash pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions. Transition to cleaner and renewable energies and replace fossil fuels “without delay.” (26, 165)

– Promote green construction with energy efficient homes and buildings. (26, 180)

— Protect clean, safe drinking water and don’t privatise it with market-based fees for the poor. (27-29, 164)

– Keep oceans and waterways clean and safe from pollutants; use biodegradable detergents at home and business. (30, 174)

– Be aware that synthetic pesticides and herbicides will hurt birds and insects that are helpful for agriculture. (34)

– Leave room for wandering and migrating species by creating “biological corridors;” don’t let dams, highways and construction lead to their extinction. (35)

– Protect biodiversity, especially wild forests, wetlands, coastal areas, mangrove swamps. (39)

and inspire real action. (49)

– Stop blaming problems on population growth. The real threat is excessive consumerism and waste. (50)

– Even if it doesn’t fix the world, beautification and goodwill gestures inspire and remind people that “we were made for love.” (58, 113, 212)

– Get back to nature — “the caress of God” — to recharge. Be more attentive to its beauty and wonder and revisit places that left you with happy memories. (84, 97, 215, 233)

– Be consistent. Pro-life, environmental and social justice movements are all connected. Protecting vulnerable species must include the unborn, endangered animals and the exploited. (91, 120)

– “Business is a noble vocation.” Create jobs that allow for personal growth, stability, living out one’s values. (124-128)

– Make public transportation a priority and a more pleasant experience. (153)

– Accept and care for the body God gave you. Value sexual differences and your own gender. (155)

– Find happiness in simple things: get-togethers, helping others, honing a talent, enjoying art and music, praying. (223-224, 226)

– Say grace before meals. (227)

– Love your enemies. (228)

– Practice “the little way” of St. Therese. (230)

– Go to Sunday Mass; receive the sacraments; encounter God in everything; rest on Sundays. (233-237)

–Sing as you go. (244)

– Pray. (246)

CNS

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