In Laudato Si’, Pope Francis outlines several daunting challenges of modern life: pollution, climate change, water scarcity, loss of biodiversity, decline of human life, breakdown of society, global inequality. That’s a lot.
Dig a little on just one of these, like this one, is enough to leave you thinking we are, well, in bad shape.
So it’s valuable and important to note that Francis believes that not only can we work with God to pull this out, but that little things matter. He argues — plenty — for action at the international policy level. But he also rattles off stuff that we can individually make a difference. “There is a nobility in the duty to care for creation through little daily actions.”
His list from 211 and 213 (and I would love to see an app developed that helps you decide how best to act to fight these multiple challenges):
- Use less heating (and air)
- Wear warmer clothes (or cooler)
- Avoiding the use of paper and plastic
- Reducing water consumption
- Separating refuse
- Cooking only what can reasonably be consumed
- Showing care for other living beings
- Using public transport or car-pooling
- Planting trees
- Turning off unnecessary lights
- Keep things clean
- Ask without demanding
- Say thank you
- Don’t be greedy
- Ask forgiveness
Dare you to use that as your examination of conscience when you next go to confession.