Laudato Si' Goals: Church proposal for sustainable development and response to poverty


The encyclical letter Laudato Si' provides an argumentative, ethical and spiritual basis for the Sustainable Development Goals

On 24 May, the feast of Mary Help of Christians, at the end of Laudato Si' Week, the Pope announced the celebration of the Laudato Si' Year, which will therefore end on 24 May next year.

The Laudato Si' Year is being accompanied by the reflections and proposals that the Pope is making for the exit of the COVID-19 pandemic. Everything is related, as the Encyclical repeats and for the exit of the pandemic, being better people as Francisco says, we find a very solid argumentative, ethical, moral and spiritual base in its reading. An ecological conversion is required for leading us to live an integral ecology at the individual and social level. Of course, also on the ecclesial level is necessary to live an integral ecology, beginning with the parishes and passing through all the organisms of the Church: "Living our vocation to be protectors of God's handiwork is essential to a life of virtue; it is not an optional or a secondary aspect of our Christian experience" (LS, 217).

This year, the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development has created a Laudato Si' action Platform , "to make communities around the world totally sustainable in the spirit of the integral ecology of Laudato Si'". The institutions that are integrated into the Platform will carry out a seven-year process.

During this Laudato Si Year', says the Dicastery, various institutions will launch and make a public commitment to begin a seven-year journey to total sustainability in the spirit of Laudato Si'. These institutions are: families, dioceses, schools, universities, hospitals, businesses, farms and religious orders". It is open to others to join in.

So that it does not remain a mere declaration of good intentions, Laudato Si' Goals (LSG) have been designed to make possible the fulfilment of this commitment through a series of actions. As far as possible, the Dicastery asks these objectives to be linked to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) approved in the UN General Assembly in 2015 (Agenda 2030).

From Justice and Peace and in the middle of the Week against Poverty 2020, we begin this commitment to linkage by making known these LSG accompanied by actions and indicators and their relationship with the SDG in order to contribute to this transformation of society and the Church towards a more fraternal, supportive, peaceful and sustainable world. "All of us can cooperate as instruments of God for the care of creation, each according to his or her own culture, experience, involvements and talents" (LS, 14). 

The recent encyclical Fratelli tutti is also an impulse to make this world -shaken by the pandemic- better along with all "people of good will" who want it.

The task of making the Laudato Si' Goals a reality is carried out jointly by "Connect yourself for Justice" in the campaign "If you care for the planet, you fight against poverty" in which there are numerous proposals that make the objectives, actions and links with the ODS concrete and visible. From the working areas of Justice and Peace we will try to deepen our knowledge, commitment and measurement of integral ecology in the spirit of the Laudato Si'.

Isabel Cuenca, Justice and Peace of Spain secretary-general

The Laudato Si' Goals (LSG) are:

1. Response to the cry of the earth

Never have we so hurt and mistreated our common home as we have in the last two hundred years. Yet we are called to be instruments of God our Father, so that our planet might be what he desired when he created it and correspond with his plan for peace, beauty and fullness (LS, 53).

The actions to which we are invited in this objective are to use clean and renewable energy, to reduce the use of fossil fuels, to protect and promote biodiversity and to guarantee access to drinking water.

2. Response to the cry of the poor

Human beings too are creatures of this world, enjoying a right to life and happiness, and endowed with unique dignity. So we cannot fail to consider the effects on people's lives of environmental deterioration, current models of development and the throwaway culture (Ls, 43).

The outstanding actions are defending human life from conception to death and all forms of life on Earth, with special attention to vulnerable groups such as indigenous communities, migrants, children at risk through slavery.

3. An ecological economics

Politics must not be subject to the economy, nor should the economy be subject to the dictates of an efficiency-driven paradigm of technocracy. Today, in view of the common good, there is urgent need for politics and economics to enter into a frank dialogue in the service of life, especially human life (LS, 189)

The actions are related to sustainable production, fair trade, ethical consumption and ethical investments.

4. Adoption of simple lifestyles

We are always capable of going out of ourselves towards the other. Unless we do this, other creatures will not be recognized for their true worth; we are unconcerned about caring for things for the sake of others; we fail to set limits on ourselves in order to avoid the suffering of others or the deterioration of our surroundings (LS, 208).

The actions to be intensified are sobriety in the use of resources and energy, avoiding the use of disposable plastics and using public transport.

5. Ecological education

Our efforts at education will be inadequate and ineffectual unless we strive to promote a new way of thinking about human beings, life, society and our relationship with nature. Otherwise, the paradigm of consumerism will continue to advance, with the help of the media and the highly effective workings of the market (LS, 215).

The actions proposed for this objective are to rethink educational programmes that include integral ecology with concrete actions and to promote the ecological vocation in the educational and ecclesiastical field.

6. Ecological spirituality

We are speaking of an attitude of the heart, one which approaches life with serene attentiveness, which is capable of being fully present to someone without thinking of what comes next, which accepts each moment as a gift from God to be lived to the full (LS, 226).

Actions: To recover the religious vision of creation, to stimulate contact with nature in a spirit of admiration, praise, joy and gratitude, to promote liturgical celebrations centred on creation, to develop ecological approaches to catechesis, prayer, retreats and formation.

7. Community involvement and participatory action

The participation of the latter also entails being fully informed about such projects and their different risks and possibilities; this includes not just preliminary decisions but also various follow-up activities and continued monitoring (LS, 183).

The action to be developed is to promote campaigns of popular actions encouraging rootedness in local territory and neighbourhood ecosystems.