Pope ties ecological justice to social justice Print
Letters to the editor
Thursday, Jul. 02, 2015 -- 12:00 AM

To the editor:

In reading through Pope Francis’ most recent encyclical, he reminds us that by hurting God’s creation, we are also hurting ourselves. We are causing pain to the poor and most vulnerable among us. We are damaging all life on this planet, including our own.

I was struck by the ways Pope Francis ties ecological justice to social justice, urging us “to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.” These cries are inextricably linked, though some try to frame them in opposition to one another.

I am fortunate enough to work at an organization that is already answering both calls. At the Catholic Multicultural Center, we serve our brothers and sisters in need while caring for creation.

For example, the CMC installed solar panels on its roof last fall. This not only eases our burden on the environment, but in spending less money on electricity we can direct more of our funds to directly helping the poor. Furthermore, the solar panels reduce our energy footprint.

In the big picture, burning less coal by transitioning to renewable energy means fewer respiratory illnesses and deaths, less mercury contamination in our lakes and streams, and a more stable climate. All of these ecological problems hit the poor and minorities first and the hardest, especially when it comes to the growing effects of climate change.

This is not the first time our faith leaders have made such statements as seen in this encyclical. When will we start listening?

Let us hear and respond to Pope Francis’ plea by taking a thoughtful look at our shortcomings thus far and start unleashing the immense potential we have to make positive change, for all of creation.

Laura Green, Madison