In an historic letter addressed to all citizens of the globe on Thursday, Pope Francis issued a moral and religious call to action on climate change and, more broadly, environmental degradation. The letter, known in the Catholic Church as an “encyclical,” is the first-ever such document devoted to the environment.
The encyclical recognizes the mainstream climate science findings that the burning of fossil fuels is causing global warming, and it marks Francis’ entrance as a central player in international climate negotiations at a critical time for climate diplomacy.
The document, entitled “Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home,” is lengthy, at 180 pages.
At times, it reads like a climate science or ecology textbook, while other sections explore profound moral, ethical and religious questions about humanity’s relationship with the Earth. Interestingly, it also lays out the pope’s views on our technologically-obsessed society, which he calls a “throwaway culture.”
Here are some of the major points that Pope Francis makes in his letter: