“Laudato Si’, on Care for Our Common Home” emerged 25 years after scientists first made public the news that we were wrecking our planet by heating its atmosphere, and I can still remember the enormous relief that came with reading Pope Francis’ words. As I wrote that day, “I’ve been working on climate change for a quarter century, and for much of that time it felt like enduring one of those nightmarish dreams where no one can hear your warnings. In recent years a broad-based movement has arisen to take up the challenge, but this marks the first time that a person of great authority in our global culture has fully recognized the scale and depth of our crisis, and the consequent necessary rethinking of what it means to be human.”
That feeling of intellectual relief continues to this day — Laudato Si’ is perhaps the great document so far of this millennium, a remarkably rich critique of what we call modernity. It managed to integrate the two great anomalies of our time: the spike in temperature and the spike in inequality, understanding them together with unmatched power.
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