Odd for an essay on the environment to become a papal rant on technology. The environmentalist rant on the topic is usually limited to the harm mining for exotic metals needed for much electronic technology can do to the environment. To them the byproducts of the mines poison streams, and then endanger the health of the population due to heavy metal poisoning. The popes rant though concerns the damage the finished product can do to its consumer. He has a point, though I have to wonder if there is a blending of too many topics? I think when discussing man’s environment, Pope Francis leaves no stone unturned.
From information overload, to a blending of cultures, to unemployment: I think perhaps the encyclical aims to introduce sociology into environmentalism, and it is true that advances in rapid communication and transportation does influence the global society. Sometimes it is for better and sometimes for worse. Certainly cultures do form our environment, and cultures do need to be protected.
I wonder though, doesn’t each environment come with an expense for its tenant. What is the cost to the consumer who wishes to live in the extreme environments of the desert or the artic, when compared to those who chose a temperate climate? In discussing the environment, shouldn’t there be an admission that each environment charges its tenants a fee for their occupancy, and these fees are often a contributor to the poverty discussed? Environments effect on society, or societies effect on environment? I don’t know.
I wonder sometimes also whom this encyclical is directed at, it seem to have a varied audience who can tease out a little be bit. For the policy maker there seems to much information to think about, but it is not presented in a way that policies are made. You can’t take politics out of policies, you can rant about it but that wont effect a change.
Fortunately, the documents winds down returning to spirituality and education and with that it forms a framework for looking at our current environment in so many ways. Its confusion illustrates the vast changes in the environment, and those changes are not limited to the physical parameters of chemistry and physics. Social, spiritual, cultural, technological, spatial, emotional, economic; they all enter our ecology.
Was I glad I read Pope Francis’s encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si? Yes, I think so; even though at times I found it cumbersome to maneuver. I think it was the first encyclical I have read while taking notes. What was the highlight of the document? I don’t think it was the science aspects or classic environmentalism. I think the highlight was with the introductory paragraphs on Saint Francis that came before the litany of environmental challenges of the twenty first century. The discussion on Saint Francis prepared the reader for the body of the discussion, and helped me to view those challenges as Saint Francis might. At the end of the encyclical I again reviewed Saint Francis and some of the events of his life in terms of ecology. I thought of the Porzioncula, the meeting with the leper, and the meeting with the wolf outside the city, and of course his love of nature and his distinct perception on Gods creation.