Considering the spiritual roots of ecophobia amid climate change

By Daniel P. Horan
National Catholic Reporter
September 21, 2023

No single term can capture the complexity and magnitude of a universal crisis the likes of global climate change. Phrases like “climate emergency” and “climate catastrophe” convey some sense of the distinctive urgency of the crisis. Concepts like “ecological grief” have appeared in both clinical and popularliterature to describe the mental health effects that living in such an environmentally precarious era has wrought across generations. These are all useful terms and ideas that help describe the circumstances in which we find ourselves today.

While these concepts provide us with resources to narrate what is happening to “our common home,” as Pope Francis would put it, they fall short of describing how we got here. As the Season of Creation continues and we head toward both its conclusion and release of the pope’s forthcoming apostolic exhortation on the environment (largely seen as a follow up to his 2015 encyclical letter “Laudato Si', on Care of Our Common Home,” I find myself reflecting on some of the conditions and factors that have brought us to this point.

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