Reflections on Laudato Si - Concluded

Feb 3, 2016 9:00 AM ET

“Never before has the world had a document that so eloquently unites ethics and environmental stewardship. That is why Laudato Si was the most significant environmental event of 2015.”

“Show your work.”

Does that bring you back to your high school math class in a hurry? That phrase was a near-daily refrain in mine. It didn’t matter if you intuitively, or by sheer luck, got a math problem right. You also had to offer a proof as well. You had to back it up.

In my January 4th post, I made the claim that the publication of Laudato Si was the most significant environmental event of 2015, beating out COP 21 in Paris. I stand by this statement. As I reaffirm this claim though, I cannot help but hear those haunting high school words echoing from my past….

Show your work.

Very well then. COP 21 was amazing. It served as a turning point in global action, a moment when governments came together promising to do more and emit less. COP 21 amplified our climate change dialogue and acknowledged the urgency of our challenges. Our world will be a better place because of it.

But with what exactly did COP 21 leave us? Ultimately, we are left with a document and these key words:

“The Conference of the Parties … [emphasizes] with serious concern the urgent need to address the significant gap between the aggregate effect of Parties’ mitigation pledges in terms of global annual emissions of greenhouse gases by 2020 and aggregate emission pathways consistent with holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels.”

Read more.

Valerie Bennett
Ray C. Anderson Foundation
+1 (770) 317-5858