Speed Reads

Climate Pope

Pope Francis warns that climate change is turning Earth into 'an immense pile of filth'

Pope Francis warned in an 184-page encyclical addressing "every living person on the planet" that if nothing is done to reverse climate change, the Earth could become an “immense pile of filth."

“All is not lost,” Francis wrote in the manifesto, titled “Laudato Si,” or “Praise Be,” which is intended for clergy members and laity of the church but is expected to be observed as a moral teaching to all Catholics. “Human beings, while capable of the worst, are also capable of rising above themselves, choosing again what is good, and making a new start.”

Francis identified apathy, fossil fuel-based economies, and a greedy global economic system as primary causes, urging that “both the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor” must be heard.

The document is wide-reaching, touching on topics as broad as urban and agricultural planning and the conservation of the Amazon and Congo basins. And while Francis emphasizes that there is no distinction between faith and environmentalism — he is a scientist himself, with a Masters Degree in chemistry — big business, politicians, and Catholic climate-doubters are bound to feel threatened by the encyclical.

"I don't think we should politicize our faith," Jeb Bush, a Catholic convert, has said. "I think religion ought to be about making us better as people and less about things that end up getting into the political realm."