Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, lauded last week the spirit of the updated environmental justice plan from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), published in October of 2016.
The EPA’s plan, entitled Environmental Justice 2020 Action Agenda (“EJ 2020”), builds on a previous effort by the agency in 2014. The updated version seeks to “integrate environmental justice considerations in all of the Agency’s programs, strengthen EPA’s collaboration with partners, and demonstrate progress on significant national challenges facing minority and low-income communities.”
“The concern for the good of people, especially the poor and vulnerable communities, is one of the central messages in Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment,” said Archbishop Wenski. “We welcome efforts by the EPA that recognize what the Pope calls ‘integral ecology,’ where respect for human life and wellbeing go hand in hand with environmental protection.”
Published in 2015, Pope Francis’ ecological encyclical Laudato si’ has garnered worldwide attention and made an important impact on environmental action across the globe. The encyclical touches on environmental justice issues, such as respect for tribal communities, the principles of subsidiarity and solidarity, the emphasis on caring for the poor and the invitation to dialogue within a culture of encounter.
The full text of Laudato si’ and resources about the encyclical are available online at: www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/environment/index.cfm.