Integral ecology

Pope convenes Laudato si' Platform for Action to last 7 years

At the conclusion of Laudato si' Week, Pope Francis invited everyone to embark together on a path towards integral ecology, within the framework of a Laudato si' Platform for Action (PALS), on which the Holy See has been working for some time.

Rafael Miner-May 25, 2021-Reading time: 4 minutes
lake and countryside

Photo credit: Amit Godase /Unsplash

In a video message on the occasion of the closing of the Laudato Si' Week, which took place virtually in many parts of the world, the Holy Father recalls that the encyclical Laudato si'The "Earth Charter, promulgated in 2015," invited all people of good will to take care of the Earth, which is our common home. For some time now, this home that houses us has been suffering from the wounds we cause because of a predatory attitude, which makes us feel that we are masters of the planet and its resources and authorizes us to an irresponsible use of the goods that God has given us."

"Today, these wounds are dramatically manifested in an unprecedented ecological crisis that affects the soil, air, water and, in general, the ecosystem in which human beings live," adds Pope Francis, who then refers to the pandemic that has been ravaging humanity for more than a year, and to those most in need.

"The current pandemic, moreover, has brought to light even more acutely the cry of nature and that of the poor, who suffer most from the consequences, making it clear that everything is interconnected and interdependent and that our health is not separate from the health of the environment in which we live."

"We need, therefore, a new ecological approach," cries the Pope, "that will transform our way of inhabiting the world, our lifestyles, our relationship with the Earth's resources and, in general, our way of seeing the human being and of living life. An integral human ecology, which involves not only environmental issues but the whole person, becomes capable of listening to the cry of the poor and of being the leaven for a new society".

"In seven years, our communities will strive in different ways to become fully sustainable, in the spirit of integral ecology."

Pope Francis

Accordingly, the Roman Pontiff has gone a step further, and announced that "the year of Laudato si' will be translated into a concrete action project, the Laudato si' Action Platform, a seven-year path in which our communities will strive in different ways to become fully sustainable, in the spirit of integral ecology."

Invitation to seven realities

With this platform, the Holy Father and the Dicastery for the Service of Integral Human Developmentwhose prefect is Cardinal Peter K. A. Turkson, invite everyone, in the words of the Pope, "to undertake this journey together and, in particular, I address these seven realities: families - parishes and dioceses - schools and universities - hospitals - businesses and farms - organizations, groups and movements - religious institutions. Let us work together. Only in this way can we create the future we want: a more inclusive, fraternal, peaceful and sustainable world".

"In a journey that will last seven years, we will let ourselves be guided by the seven objectives of Laudato si', which will point us in the direction as we pursue the vision of integral ecology: responding to the cry of the Earth, responding to the cry of the poor, ecological economics, adopting a simple lifestyle, ecological education, ecological spirituality and community engagement."

The Pope concludes his message by stressing that "there is hope. We can all collaborate, each with his or her own culture and experience, each with his or her own initiatives and abilities, so that our Mother Earth may recover her original beauty and creation may once again shine according to God's plan. May God bless each one of you and bless our mission to rebuild our common home".

"We don't have time."

Cardinal Peter Turkson added in the press conference that followed, it is a matter of inaugurating "seven years of activity to continue and concretize the message of the encyclical in the local Churches. Six years after the encyclical letter Laudato Si', it is good to look at the world we are leaving to our children, to future generations. The pandemic has made us reflect and taught us much, but the cry of the Earth and of the poor is ever more heartbreaking, and the message of our scientists and our young people is ever more alarming: we are destroying our future.

The pandemic has given us food for thought and taught us a lot, but the cry of the Earth and the poor is increasingly heartbreaking.

Card. Peter Turkson

Cardinal Turkson stated that "our human and non-human family as a whole is in great danger, and we have no more time to wait or delay." He went on to outline a series of goals, including "limiting the increase in global average temperature to within the crucial limit of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels; and listening and responding to science, to this cry of the Earth, of the poor and of our children."

The working groups

Fr. Joshtrom Isaac Kureethadam , coordinator of the Ecology and Creation session of the Vatican Dicastery, reported that they have been working on the Platform "for almost two years," and there is already a 'Steering Committee' for this process, led by the Dicastery.

"Collaboration is especially evident in the Working Groups that lead each of the seven sectors," added Fr. Kureethadam: "the Families sector is led by the Focolare movement along with several other co-leaders, the Parishes and Dioceses sector is led by CAFOD along with the Bishops' Conferences and other partners; the Schools sector is led by the Don Bosco Green Alliance and Scholas Occurrentes along with other co-leaders; the University sector is led by the Jesuits together with several other University networks; the Hospital sector is led by the Catholic Health Association of India (CHAI) and the Catholic Health Association of the USA together with other co-leaders; the Hospital sector is led by the Catholic Health Association of India (CHAI) and the Catholic Health Association of the USA together with other co-leaders.The economy sector is led by the Economy di Francesco and Laudato si' Challenge along with several others; the groups and movements by CIDSE along with WUCWOFC, VIS, and the religious sectors by the USG and UISG".

In this way, noted Fr. Kureethadam, "we respond to the Pope's constant invitation to 'prepare the future together' in the context of the current pandemic. By way of conclusion, I would like to mention that our prayer and our dream is to initiate 'a people's movement from below' that can truly bring about the radical change needed given the urgency of the crisis of our common home."

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