He’s only doing his job.
But many feel that by forcefully injecting moral obligations into the global environment debate, Pope Francis is doing it well.
Addressing Ecuador’s long-simmering Amazon rain forest dispute, Francis yesterday reminded his audience — and all of us — that, “We received this world as an inheritance from past generations, but also as a loan from future generations, to whom we will return it.” (Read: “Pope Francis, in Ecuador, Calls for More Protection of Rain Forest and Its People”, New York Times, 7/7/15)
At the same time, Francis stressed the need for application of his principle of “integral ecology” — interpreted by many as a balance of economic development and environmental protection. Without walking back the comprehensive criticism of the global economic system in his recent “Laudato Si” encyclical, in Quito Francis concentrated on protection of the Amazon rain forest’s indigenous population.
The Pope’s remarks can be seen in confluence with the major global effort getting underway by the United Nations — the upcoming launch of the post 2015 Sustainable Development Goals: Two weeks ago, some 500 leaders of business, NGOs, academic institutions and government from around the world convened a three-day conference, “UN Global Compact+15 Business as a Force or Good” with emphasis on the “indispensable role of business” in the SDGs .
One of the major reports at the conference, “Caring For Climate“, documented and projected commitments and progress on carbon emission reduction. It can be seen as an illustration of how the global private sector, in partnership with civil society, is evolving in the direction of more responsible environmental stewardship.
Somewhere ahead on the long climate-change road, “integral ecology” and “Caring for Climate” may well find mutual accommodation.