Reports have been reverberating in every nook and cranny of the world indicating that nature has been striking back in various parts of the world causing extensive irreversible damage to life and property.
The world faces intermittent climate-caused disasters that have far-reaching effects on every walk of life. Nations over the years have manipulated with nature and wreaked havoc on virgin forests, and oceans through various activities they conducted, under the euphemism of maintaining civilization, which was actually an embodiment of their personal interests as well as their lust for power and money. The damage inflicted by man through various acts, such as deforestation and industrial activities that emit dangerous gases among others, is sometimes irreversible. This leads to climate change which wreaks havoc on our universe, the home of humans for thousands of years.
A bird's view on current world affairs, it is noticed that Iran is currently facing a severe drought accompanied by a growing public anger over water, as drought restricts hydro-electric power. Furthermore, there are reports that currently 61 per cent of continental United States is under droughts of varying severity. This high coverage of area under droughts has been ongoing for 40 weeks as the extreme circumstances have spurred demand for water and cooling. On the other hand, reports indicate that heavy rains triggered catastrophic floods have struck populations in Germany, Belgium and other western European nations, where the death toll of more than 180 keeps rising with hundreds of people still missing.
Such reports set alarm bells ringing and keep people staying in consternation unaware of what the future holds.
The question that arises is what is next? His Holiness Pope Francis has expressed his vicinity to flood-struck populations in Germany, Belgium and other Western European nations by saying at the Sunday Angelus, July 18: “I express my closeness to the populations of Germany, Belgium and Holland, struck by catastrophic floods." He added that he was praying that “the Lord may welcome the deceased and comfort their loved ones, may He sustain the efforts of everyone who are helping those who have suffered serious damage.”
What is the panacea? How can the anger of nature be reversed?
On May 24, 2015 His Holiness Pope Francis gave "the needed panacea" when he launched his encyclical letter Laudato Si ("Praised Be You") which provides the most comprehensive Vatican document to date on environmentalism, ethics, and Christian faith.
This encyclical serves as a worldwide wake-up call to help humanity understand the destruction that man is rendering to the environment and to the entire humanity, as well as to help reverse it.
Stating the goal of the encyclical, His Holiness Pope Francis says, “In this encyclical, I would like to enter into dialogue with all people about our common home. I urgently appeal, then, for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet. We need a conversation that includes everyone, since the environment challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all."
With the Laudato Si encyclical calling for replacing the most polluting fossil fuels and stressing a key idea related to “integral ecology", namely people and planet are one family, it is important in this regard to recall a key point mentioned in the encyclical which says, “Climate change is a global problem with grave implications negatively affecting environmental, social, economic, political aspects. It is one of the principal challenges facing humanity nowadays. There is an exigent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions which is a moral and humanitarian imperative.”
The document looks at not only man’s effect on the environment, but also on the many philosophical, theological, and cultural causes that threaten the relationships of man to nature and man to each other in various circumstances.
All efforts designed to restore a healthy environment is a collective duty, whereby all world countries should join hands and intensely work in this direction.
It is hoped that the world leaders and peoples will realize the impact of environmental degradation and look for practical and effective solutions to this seemingly chronic problem that jeopardizes life on Earth by fully adopting Pope Francis' Laudato Si.
In conclusion, Pope Francis' Laudato Si serves as the only viable and applicable panacea that relieves and salvages the world from the environmental disasters lurking in the horizon.