Lessons at 100

Today’s Laudato Si in Action is the 100th article in this series that I began in May of 2019. Most I have penned, but a few were contributed by my wife, Suzanna, as well as our friend, Luke Henkel. 

From my first article: In this column, my goal is very simple: to share with you key excerpts from this critically important document and to suggest how we can put Laudato Si into concrete achievable actions.

I think I have more or less accomplished what I set out to do, but my outlook and approach has also shifted. As I have stated on more than one occasion: there are basically four levels of action we can take: personal actions, actions taken by our family and friends level, community (e.g., church, school, workplace) actions, and finally, action at the larger systemic (e.g., city, state, nation, world) level.

Let me make it clear that I am a big believer in ethical consistency. This means that I can’t expect my place of work or my nation to take the necessary and radical actions needed to reverse climate change and right climate injustices while I crank up the A/C, drive and fly everywhere, and over-consume my way through life. I need to be doing my part and have my maker to answer to, if I do not behave responsibly. That said, I also realize that Suzanna and I installing solar panels and driving an electric car is not going to save the planet. Rather, it will be our collective actions, and the actions of nations and large corporations that will ultimately save or destroy our planet.

After all, the oil companies and other polluters have their lobbyists working over time, installing pipelines and plastic factories in poor communities, ensuring their dirty energy subsidies continue, all while relentlessly stopping all meaningful climate action. When will we all wake up and be as relentless in electing and lobbying leaders to hurry up and create the just and sustainable energy economy with lots of living-wage jobs we need today to build the net zero economy of the future? 

As Pope Francis asked us last month: “We have a great responsibility, especially with regard to the future generations. What world do we want to leave to our children and our young?”

Working together, we can help take care of our common home. 

Paul Litwin

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