In his encyclical letter on the environment, called Laudato Si’, Pope Francis writes: “ It is remarkable how weak international political responses have been [to addressing our ecological crises]. … There are too many special interests, and economic interests easily end up trumping the common good and manipulating information so that their own plans will not be affected” (LS #54).
Both the climate crisis and the biodiversity crisis are accelerating rapidly, with scientists warning us that there’s not much time left to act before the worst consequences are unavoidable. In the face of seemingly indifferent or callous political leadership, it’s tempting for us to give up hope that meaningful solutions to our ecological crisis can be implemented. How can we move past inaction? How can we create a “healthy politics” capable of prioritizing the common good?
The solution is for each one of us to get more involved in politics. It’s important to remember that politics is not about politicians and political parties. What it’s about is every member of a community building the kind of communities they want to live in.
Quoting the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, Pope Francis reminds us that “‘in order to make society more human, more worthy of the human person, love in social life – political, economic and cultural – must be given renewed value, becoming the constant and highest norm for all activity.’ … When we feel that God is calling us to intervene with others in these social dynamics, we should realize that this too is part of our spirituality, which is an exercise of charity and, as such, matures and sanctifies us” (LS #231).
It’s our responsibility, as much as it’s our right, to use our moral voices to advocate alongside the earth and its more marginalized children for a more just, sustainable world. To solve the ecological crisis, we need every person to be a part of the solution, starting with their local community and moving all the way up to the highest levels of society and government.