Sustainability 101

10 Quotes from The Pope’s Encyclical On The Environment

Photo by: Korea.net / Korean Culture and Information Service CC BY-SA 2.0

The Pope’s encyclical on the environment released last month generated a worldwide maelstrom of discussion. Some have suggested that it marks a turning point in the debate on climate change.

But beyond that, the document also talks about the modern economy, pollution, sustainability, and the interconnectedness of all life. Even for the non religious, the Pope’s encyclical is important because of its wide reach and influence.

Here are ten quotes spotlighted in a post by Andrew Winston. In these, the Pope urges for a more far-sighted approach to conducting business that cares for the environment, with everyone working towards a common good.

1) Saint John Paul II…warned that human beings frequently seem “to see no other meaning in their natural environment than what serves for immediate use and consumption.” (5)

2) The earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth. (21)

3) The earth’s resources are also being plundered because of short-sighted approaches to the economy, commerce and production. (32)

4) Caring for ecosystems demands far-sightedness, since no one looking for quick and easy profit is truly interested in their preservation. (36)

5) the disproportionate and unruly growth of many cities, which have become unhealthy to live in, not only because of pollution caused by toxic emissions but also as a result of urban chaos, poor transportation, and visual pollution and noise. Many cities are huge, inefficient structures, excessively wasteful of energy and water. (44)

6) …we know that approximately a third of all food produced is discarded, and “whenever food is thrown out it is as if it were stolen from the table of the poor.” (50)

7)  …easy to accept the idea of infinite or unlimited growth, which proves so attractive to economists, financiers and experts in technology. It is based on the lie that there is an infinite supply of the earth’s goods, and this leads to the planet being squeezed dry beyond every limit. (106)

8) The economy accepts every advance in technology with a view to profit, without concern for its potentially negative impact on human beings. Finance overwhelms the real economy. The lessons of the global financial crisis have not been assimilated, and we are learning all too slowly the lessons of environmental deterioration. (109)

9) Business is a noble vocation, directed to producing wealth and improving our world. It can be a fruitful source of prosperity for the areas in which it operates, especially if it sees the creation of jobs as an essential part of its service to the common good. (129)

10). The notion of the common good also extends to future generations. The global economic crises have made painfully obvious the detrimental effects of disregarding our common destiny, which cannot exclude those who come after us. We can no longer speak of sustainable development apart from intergenerational solidarity…[which is] not optional, but rather a basic question of justice, since the world we have received also belongs to those who will follow us…“The environment is part of a logic of receptivity. It is on loan to each generation, which must then hand it on to the next”. An integral ecology is marked by this broader vision. (159)

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