Laudato Si and The Catholic Climate Covenant

Life Cards sample developing world

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Students from Sustainability and other Living Learning Communities, faculty, and Christian Brothers met over lunch on February 25th to learn about and discuss Laudato Si’, the recent environmental encyclical from Pope Francis. The Catholic Climate Covenant organization, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ environmental outreach office, provided videos and discussion materials to engage students with moral and faith-based responses to the intertwined problems of poverty, cultural disintegration, and climate change. We engaged with broad questions raised by Pope Francis’s encyclical such as if harming the planet excessively was a sin, to whom the earth and its resources ultimately belonged, and if conserving the environment equitably is a spiritual responsibility.  Participants were particularly struck by an exercise in which half the group read “Life Cards” about the availability of food, education, and health care in the United States, compared to the lack of those basic necessities for many people in the poor/developing world. Each group then made hypothetical decisions about what those factors might mean for life expectations and raising their own children in that region, and how that affected their view of the broader world and the growing effects of climate change.