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The central message of Pope Francis’ latest encyclical letter on Climate and the Environment is “Care for our Common Home“. The letter is the foundation of the Pope’s mission on climate.

Top Five Climate Messages of Pope Francis, boomer warrior


Mark Dunlea of the 350.Org Local Group Leaders has shared his summary of quotations from the Pope’s Encyclical Letter.

The letter is a comprehensive overview of not just climate change but of the role of humanity in acting as stewards of our environment, which includes the poor. It cites the shortcoming of our political and economic leaders and systems and the weak response by them so far to climate change. It is very strong in recognizing the right of other beings and reject the notion that man has the right to exploit and dominate nature.

“Climate change is a global problem with grave implications: environmental, social, economic, political and for the distribution of goods. It represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day. It’s worst impact will probably be felt by developing countries in coming decades,” the Pope said.

I urgently appeal, then, for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet. We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all.

Top Five Climate Messages

1. Humans  Are the Problem

Never have we so hurt and mistreated our common home as we have in the last two hundred years.

The climate is a common good, belonging to all and meant for all. At the global level, it is a complex system linked to many of the essential conditions for human life. A very solid scientific consensus indicates that we are presently witnessing a disturbing warming of the climatic system.

For human beings… to destroy the biological diversity of God’s creation; for human beings to degrade the integrity of the earth by causing changes in its climate, by stripping the earth of its natural forests or destroying its wetlands; for human beings to contaminate the earth’s waters, its land, its air, and its life – these are sins.

Each com­munity can take from the bounty of the earth whatever it needs for subsistence, but it also has the duty to protect the earth and to ensure its fruitfulness for coming generations.

The Earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth. In many parts of the planet, the elderly lament that once beautiful landscapes are now covered with rubbish.

2. The Inaction on Climate by World Leaders is Indefensible

It is remarkable how weak international political responses have been.  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.

The alliance between the economy and technology ends up sidelining anything unrelated to its immediate interests. 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 failure of global summits on the environment make it plain that our politics are subject to technology and finance. Consequently the most one can expect is superficial rhetoric, sporadic acts of philanthropy and perfunctory expressions of concern for the environment, whereas any genuine attempt by groups within society to introduce change is viewed as a nuisance based on romantic illusions or an obstacle to be circumvented.

Politics must not be subject to the economy, nor should the economy be subject to the dictates of an efficiency-driven paradigm of technocracy.

The idea of infinite or unlimited growth, which proves so attractive to economists, financiers and experts in technology … 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 at every limit.

3. Fossil Fuels Must be Eliminated

Top Five Climate Messages of Pope Francis, boomer warrior

There is an urgent need to develop policies so that, in the next few years, the emission of carbon dioxide and other highly polluting gases can be drastically reduced, for example, substituting for fossil fuels and developing sources of renewable energy. Worldwide there is minimal access to clean and renewable energy.

We know that technology based on the use of highly polluting fossil fuels – especially coal, but also oil and, to a lesser degree, gas – needs to be progressively replaced without delay…. Politics and business have been slow to react in a way commensurate with the urgency of the challenges facing our world.

Reducing greenhouse gases requires honesty, courage and responsibility, above all on the part of those countries which are more powerful and pollute the most…the countries which have benefited from a high degree of industrialization, at the cost of enormous emissions of greenhouse gases, have a greater responsibility for providing a solution to the problems they have caused.

4. Climate Emergency – Urgency to Act

Top Five Climate Messages of Pope Francis, boomer warriorMany things have to change course, but it is we human beings above all who need to change. We lack an awareness of our common origin, of our mutual belonging, and of a future to be shared with everyone.”

Doomsday predictions can no longer be met with irony or disdain. We may well be leaving to coming generations debris, desolation and filth. The pace of consumption, waste and environmental change has so stretched the planet’s capacity that our contemporary lifestyle, unsustainable as it is, can only precipitate catastrophes, such as those which even now periodically occur in different areas of the world. The effects of the present imbalance can only be reduced by our decisive action, here and now.

5. Especially Detrimental to the Poor

Pope Francis argues that climate change disproportionately impacts the poor.

The human environment and the natural environment deteriorate together; we cannot adequately combat environmental degradation unless we attend to causes related to human and social degradation.

The same mindset which stands in the way of making radical decisions to reverse the trend of global warming also stands in the way of achieving the goal of eliminating poverty.

Pope Francis believes that “all is not lost. Human beings, while capable of the worst, are also capable of rising above themselves, choosing again what is good, and making a new start.”

Although the post-industrial period may well be remembered as one of the most irresponsible in history, nonetheless there is reason to hope that humanity at the dawn of the twenty-first century will be remembered for having generously shouldered its grave responsibilities.”

“I would like to enter a dialogue with all people about our common home,” Francis said.

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Rolly Montpellier is the Founder and Managing Editor of BoomerWarrior.Org. He’s a Climate Reality leader, a blogger and a Climate Activist. Rolly has been published widely – Toronto Star, The Hill Times, Kingston Whig, the PEN, UnpublishedOttawa, Climate Change Guide, World Daily, Examiner, The Canadian, 350Ottawa, ClimateMama, MyEarth360, GreenDivas, The Elephant, Countercurrents, County Weekly News.

He’s a member of Climate Reality Canada, Citizens’ Climate Lobby (Ottawa) and 350.Org (Ottawa). You can follow him on FacebookTwitter and Linkedin.

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  1. Well the pope said it ALL right here,

    “Many things have to change course, but it is we human beings above all who need to change.”

    There is nothing more important to understand than that particular statement Pope Francis made. It is right at home where the worst of it all begins. It begins with having a large home, with having new clothes all the time, with having so many gadgets we couldn’t name them all from memory, with the fact that we depend on stores for our goods and services, especially food and water, and much more that happens in the world of markets. It is the free enterprise system of economics itself that has corrupted us. So many believe in this way of operating and managing societies, but of late ‘some’ of us are coming to understand that it has become a hugely failed experiment and it needs to go.

    Just give this some thought, it is something that is right there in front of our faces, but we don’t see what it is actually saying. And that is that the fundamental operators of free enterprise: self interest and competition. Look at those words and realize what they are saying to us. they are saying be selfish and while you’re at it try and out do your neighbor. Think you can soften that up and make it something good, well of course you can cuz that’s what we been doing for nearly 300 years now, that is making selfishness and one up’ems a good thing, making selfishness and aggressiveness virtuous. But if we can pull our heads out of our asses for a minute we’ll see it’s just the opposite, think about it.

  2. Well, 1.2 Billion Catholics now know that it is a sin to hurt the environment. It is over 1/7th of the world population… a hefty percentage. But will it just equate to more people in the confessional, or will it really make a difference? The latter I hope.

    • Colette – I’m not a particularly religious person but I’m starting to realize that there may be a role for religion in solving the climate crisis. When I see and listen to what Pope Francis has to say about the plight of humanity, one cannot help but think that (as you indicate) he speaks for 1/7 of the world’s population. Of course not all Catholics are believers. Like me many were born Catholic but managed to escape before it was too late. But he does speak openly and honestly about problems in need of solutions without the cloud of politics and compromise hanging over his head.

      His new dialogue transcends world politics. He goes beyond what others, with the exception of Naomi Klein, have dared to say before. I think he’s on the right track as we head to Paris 2015 COP21.

      • Oh, Yes Rolly, I agree that all the major religious leaders should address the growing problem of climate change. I am not a believer any longer either (well nothing specifically dogmatic), and like you, was also raised a Catholic. I know that many Catholics only pay “lip service” to their faith and do not adhere to the practice through all their life choices. I have seen much hypocrisy in the Catholic faith, so forgive me if I sound a little sceptical about the possible results.

        Nevertheless, to be positive, many people will find the Pope’s message a powerful influence. I do applaud all groups, Religious or otherwise who influence a positive change in attitudes to humanity’s irresponsible use of the earth’s resources.

        • If nothing else, Pope Francis is moving the dialogue in the right direction. But the proof will be in what happens in Paris in December. Will world leaders get beyond the rhetoric and agree to a legally binding international agreement to lower emissions by 70% by 2050? Like you, I remain skeptical. This is one of those times when I want to be wrong.

  3. Oh hey Joe it as much or even more about people who have homes much smaller than Al Gore’s, which I believe his home is something like 6000 sq ft, don’t know about Suzuki. Yeah, it’s crazy that his home is that big, even if it is totally powered by renewables, nevertheless the size alone is sinful cuz it has heavily used resources. If every one in the world lived in homes that big we’d of all been dead a long time ago with or without climate change and with or without renewables. But here’s the thing, the average home in America is 3000 sq ft, that’s a lot of homes and a lot of resources and a lot of energy use. We bring that down to a maximum of 800 sq ft but better at 400, then we might be more in line with real action, And that’s just talking about homes, think of all the other products being make on this planet by humans, which I believe it is estimated that there are 100 million individual products that are produced in mass on this planet which are making for trillions of products taking up resources, space and energy. Check this video out.

  4. Come the UN Paris gathering in December, let the world sing and sign…

    All we are saying…
    (Tune? Think John Lennon)

    All want a U.S. lifestyle
    Add another to the pile
    Need five planets to sustain
    This mankind what a pain

    All we are saying is give youth a chance
    All we are saying is give youth a chance

    Let me tell you now
    Ev’rybody’s talkin’bout balance sheet
    Infinite growth, market share, just like sheeps
    Consum’rism, cap’talism, terrorism
    This-ism ‘n that-ism
    ‘N ism, ‘n ism, ‘nother ism

    All we are saying is give youth a chance
    All we are saying is give youth a chance

    Got to know now
    Coal smoke staks aren’t cool
    To go on takes a fool
    Million tons of ash’n sludge
    Got to wake up Mr Judge
    Spit up carbon, mercury,
    Nickel, tin, antimony,
    Lead ‘n cadmium, arsenic,
    Sure enough you’ll get sick

    All we are saying is give youth a chance
    All we are saying is give youth a chance

    Got to think now
    Insects northboud are movin’
    Disease with them are comin’
    Oil ‘n gas drive up the heat
    Drill my baby got to beat
    Others to the finish line
    The idea isn’t divine
    Finish line is a dead end
    Will have us dead in the end
    Fossil fuel’s a provocation
    Divest from them ‘cross the nation

    All we are saying is give youth a chance
    All we are saying is give youth a chance

    Got to share now
    Half a billion can’t be ignored
    Oceans rising in their back yards
    Chi’a’nese, Vietnamese, Japanese, India’nese,
    Bangladesh’nese, Indonesia’nese, Thailand’a’nese, Netherland’nese,
    Philippi’nese, Myanmar’nese, USAnese, UKnese,
    Brazil’nese, German’nese, France’nese, Malaysia’nese,
    Taiwan’nese, Korea’nese, Nigeria’nese, Italian’nese
    We ask you down on our knees

    All we are saying is give youth a chance
    All we are saying is give youth a chance

    Got to change now
    We cause droughts that stay it seems
    We take nature to extremes
    We pretend we are its masters
    We deny what really matters
    We think we are really smart
    We should think more for a start
    We can’t go on with consumption
    We need a lot more compassion
    We’re ready to take some costing
    We do care about all offsprings

    All we are saying is give youth a chance
    All we are saying is give youth a chance

    All we are saying is give youth a chance
    All we are saying is give youth a chance

    (And on, and on)

    • Hello Guy and welcome to BoomerWarrior.

      Tell me more about these lyrics. Did you compose this poem/song? I recognize the reference to John Lennon of course but it’s not the original lyrics. If you did not write these lines, what would be their source? I’m interested in using this material on my site at some point.

      Looking forward to your follow-up. Thanks for responding to the article.

      • Yes, the lyrics is my doing from a to z, including typos and mistakes (as my mother language is French). It’s already been posted on 4 to 5 sites. So it’s a bit late to modify / add to it if we want to start a wave (which I would love to, for COP21 in December). All are welcome to share / propagate.

        Didn’t clear the rights to use the music, though, nor the mimicked “refrain”:
        “All that we’re saying is give … a chance”
        Proper attention should be given to the rights if this goes beyond the garage band.

          • You certainly have my permission. The lyrics is on my FB wall. Sharable from your own post provided the Creative Commoms BY-SA license is respected. That is, with the following footnote

            Climate Change: Give youth a chance…

            [By Guy Cloutier. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit

            [Rights to use John Lennon’s / Yoko Ono’s music of “Give Peace a Chance” UNcleared (as of 2015-07-01).]

            Guy Cloutier


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