On June 18, Pope Francis issued his eagerly awaited encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si’; On Care for Our Common Home. In the Encyclical, Pope Francis calls on our moral responsibility to care for creation, protect human dignity and safeguard the environment. The Pope blames human activity and “unfettered greed” for increased pollution, inequality, and global warming, and urges everyone to act quickly, as the Earth begins “to look more and more like an immense pile of filth.”
I believe that the Encyclical moves us to conversion and action on this important issue that affects all humanity and the future generations. This is why at the heart of Laudato Si is the question: “What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up?” The answers Pope Francis suggests call for profound changes to political, economic, cultural and social systems, as well as to our individual lifestyles. This demands us to courageously review our way of life, political and economic policies, business practices, mindsets and attitudes towards the environment.
Pope Francis sees Climate Change (global warming) as a major threat to life on the planet needing “urgent” global action. Hence, the Pope repeatedly urges us to renewed and urgent action and honest dialogue about our environment – both social and ecological. As the local Church, we want to create a platform for Catholics, Concerned Citizens, Development Partners, Government and Environmental agencies to contribute (through reflection, dialogue and action) to the issues of environment and climate change on our local situation.
With Pope Francis I invite the faithful, the religious, the clergy and indeed “all Christians” to pray, reflect and act on the message of Laudato Si. I also call, especially, on political leaders, educators, business people, experts in science and digital technology, media, consumer groups, non-governmental organizations to join us in taking action to protect and care for our common home, the earth.
+ Robert Christopher Ndlovu
Archbishop of Harare, Zimbabwe.