By Marianne Comfort, Mercy Justice Team 

On March 24th we marked the eighth anniversary of Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si’. In this document the pope invites us to ecological conversion and action flowing out of the realization that everything is connected; we can’t address social injustices without also addressing environmental degradation, and vice versa. 

“Our goal is …to become painfully aware, to dare to turn what is happening to the world into our own personal suffering and thus to discover what each of us can do about it,” Pope Francis wrote (paragraph #19). 

This year the Laudato Si Movement chose “Hope for the Earth. Hope for Humanity” as the theme of Laudato Si Week, the days immediately leading up to and following the encyclical’s anniversary. 

Pope Francis himself speaks to this theme: “Human beings, while capable of the worst, are also capable of rising above themselves, choosing again what is good, and making a new start.” (#205) 

He writes that there is “a nobility in the duty to care for creation through little daily actions” and that “we must not think that these efforts are not going to change the world. They benefit society…for they call forth a goodness which, albeit unseen, inevitably tends to spread.” (#211-212) 

Green Tip: 

Watch The Letter, a film that explores Laudato Si’ through the perspectives of five people who travel to the Vatican to meet with the pope. They include a young man struggling with both climate change and poverty in Senegal; an Indigenous leader in Brazil defending the rainforest from extractive industries; a teenage girl committed to climate activism; and two marine biologists from Hawaii. Renew your commitment to living more sustainably in light of their stories.