Laudato si’, Six Years Later


The Christian Churches’ traditional environmental ethic is stewardship. Laudato si’ (2015) has augmented stewardship ethics with an ethics of care. The ethics of care is also the one that inspires Francis of Assisi and Bonaventure, indigenous people and feminist ethics. Laudato si’ puts a major emphasis on education and pays scant attention to policy because deep changes allegedly need to occur first at the individual level. Policy toward global ecological problems has been difficult to formulate and implement because the latter are public goods “wicked problems”. Some policy experts, in their respective reviews of U.S. climate policies, tend to fall back on ethics rather than policy as a major motivator for appropriate individual behavior, comforting pope Francis’ conviction. The relatively recent ethics of relational values may be a useful tool to build bridges among different types of ethics. Could religion, any religion, be an alternative motivator for pro-environmental behavior? Abundant sociological analysis concludes to the contrary. Eco-theology is creation theology that has been shaped by environmental problems. Its summary provided here in point form offers the potential for becoming a mobilizing “grand-narrative”. However, it is still in its infancy and does not have a unified methodology yet

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