Leader promotes climate change with poetry

In a bid to contribute to an issue that is saturated with technocratic and political heaviness, Pope Francis' encyclical "Laudato Si,'" add his voice through poetry.


His opening paragraph immediately puts the reader in a different space, reminding us of our interconnectedness with all of life on earth. By quoting St. Francis of Assisi, he describes the earth as our sister, "with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us." Not the normal terminology in a document on climate change. He goes on to evoke an image of our small blue planet, whirling in an infinite blackness as a common home. No matter what color, religion, nationality or gender, we are all in this together.

The messages of the poem is stark. Climate change will have "grave implications" for all of humanity, rich and poor, but mainly the poor who are already struggling to cope with the inequalities thrust on them by over consumption and indifference of the richer nations:

The encyclical doesn't stop at just climate change though. Refreshingly we are reminded of the sin of wastefulness, greed, pollution and, joyfully for me, loss of biodiversity.

Here is an except of the poem:

Each year sees the disappearance of thousands of plant and animal species which we will never know, which our children will never see, because they have been lost for ever. The great majority become extinct for reasons related to human activity. Because of us, thousands of species will no longer give glory to God by their very existence, nor convey their message to us. We have no such right.

Let us sing as we go. May our struggles and our concern for this planet never take away the joy of our hope.

If only such poetry were more commonplace in this very disturbing debate.

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