What is “Laudato Si’”? First presented by Pope Francis – spiritual leader to the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics – to his faith-based cohort, it is a call to action addressed not only to Catholics, but to all people of the world. Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home raises the profile of the grave ecological crisis that humanity has created and issues a moral clarion call for urgent action to protect the earth and its inhabitants from ruin.
This short course provides an overview of the main themes and messages of Laudato Si’. No affiliation or prior familiarity with Catholic teaching is required, nor any prior knowledge of the sustainable development agenda. Students are guided through the basic structure of the Laudato Si’ message – diagnosis of the ecological crisis, an overview of its theological and philosophical underpinnings, evaluation of the human behavior at its root, the need for institutional solutions, and the call for personal action. Issued in the months leading up to adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement, Laudato Si’ can be read as a moral charter for sustainable development. It provides a firm ethical foundation for actions that need to be taken urgently at all levels – global, national, local and personal, too. This is what makes it so important.