A startling story, which introduces a recent finding that 1 in 6 species could be wiped out by climate change, points out the injustice that one generation can inflict on another.
In preparation for the forthcoming encyclical, a Vatican workshop on the moral dimensions of climate change is asking: Do we have the right to leave a toxic and diminished world to future generations? Maybe we should think about those who must inherit what we leave behind. What will we say to our grandchildren in 20 years?
“Sorry, kids, but our generation convinced itself that fossil fuels were the only source of energy. It was so easy to ignore the invisible pollution that was heating up the Earth. Sad to say, we finally saw our mistake, but it was too late. We cooked the planet just enough to trigger some powerful natural processes that will keep the Earth heating, the oceans rising and the animals disappearing for centuries. Scientists tried to explain what they meant by ‘irreversible damage,’ but we listened to the soothing reassurances from the oil companies, instead.”
Later this year, Pope Francis will recommend ways to avoid such a conversation with our grandchildren. We should listen.