Star Tribune: Pope’s message on earth’s fate is a call to action, regardless of faith

(June 22, 2015, Start Tribute: Opinion by Jason Adkins)

Pope Francis has written an extraordinary letter to every person on the planet. It seeks to start a global conversation between all people of good will about how to protect and preserve our common home from destruction.

In the document, “Laudato Si,” Pope Francis encourages everyone to thoughtfully consider the best information that science has to offer about the condition of our natural environment, and exhorts leaders in business and politics to address challenging problems such as climate change and ensuring access for all to clean drinking water.

Environmental discussions, Francis notes, take on particular importance this year in light of past failures to enact policies that protect the global commons. Minnesota legislators, for example, are considering plans to strengthen the state’s renewable energy standard; on the federal level, the EPA will introduce the final rules for its Clean Power Plan; and the United Nations will convene a climate change conference in Paris.

Public policy is an important component of environmental stewardship. But if we limit the conversation to politicians and CEOs, each of us shirks our own responsibility, regardless of our faith, to be stewards of creation. Pope Francis’s proposal asks us, in our personal life and in our communities, to turn away from the injustice of environmental degradation and care for our shared planet.

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