The 7-year Action Plan launched by Pope Francis is a journey towards total sustainability in the spirit and with attention to Laudato Si and its 7 Goals (LSGs). The LSGs are The Cry of the Earth, The Cry of the Poor, Ecological Economics, Adoption of Simple Life Styles, Ecological Education, Ecological Spirituality and Emphasis on Community Involvement and Participatory Action. At the end of the year, we want to look at the latest goal.
Our Newsletter committed itself to live and strengthen this seven-year plan, presenting one by one all seven objectives of Laudato Si during the year. We did it. At the end of the year, we therefore want to look at the last goal, the seventh.
This objective aims to emphasize community involvement and participatory action for the care of creation at the local, regional, national and international level. It therefore calls to promote people's support to campaigns, encourage rooting in the local territory and neighborhood ecosystems, and community participation in all initiatives that respond to the spirit of Laudato Si.
"We have to convince ourselves that there is no time to waste and that we need to change our behavior. Pope Francis tries to translate into clear words what the Gospel transmits to us. Thought and action should combine at all levels. Laudato Si and Fratelli Tutti are our blueprint of reference." To do this and transform words into deeds, we must “involve ourselves in the realities of the territory as much as possible, and make people understand what they are capable of doing in everyday life. Let's put our forces together" (Card Lojudice, Al via Obiettivo 2030 Laudato Si’: solo insieme possiamo salvare la casa comune).
This objective is therefore above all a method, an attitude of heart and mind that orients every commitment in support of actions to the two papal encyclicals in favor of the Common Home and of a fraternal coexistence require.
At the root as a resort of this community involvement and active participation is what the Pope calls "The universal communion". “This is the basis of our conviction that, as part of the universe, called into being by one Father, all of us are linked by unseen bonds and together form a kind of universal family, a sublime communion which fills us with a sacred, affectionate and humble respect. Here I would reiterate, God has joined us so closely to the world around us that we can feel the desertification of the soil almost as a physical ailment, and the extinction of a species as a painful disfigurement” (LS, 89ss).
This universal communion should become an "ecology of daily life", that is an "integral improvement in the quality of human life". This “entails considering the setting in which people live their lives" because “these settings influence the way we think, feel and act." “Human ecology also implies another profound reality: the relationship between human life and the moral law, which is inscribed in our nature and is necessary for the creation of a more dignified environment" (LS, 155).
It is without doubt that this way of conceiving life and human and social relationships requires the involvement and participation of all. Pope Francis, therefore, denounces in Fratelli Tutti the "dark clouds over a closed world" that "hinder the development of universal brotherhood." Among these clouds is the spreading of “despair and discouragement, even under the guise of defending certain values.”
This is, he denounces, "The best way to dominate and gain control over people" for personal and national selfishness. “Today, in many countries, hyperbole, extremism and polarization have become political tools. Employing a strategy of ridicule, suspicion and relentless criticism, in a variety of ways one denies the right of others to exist or to have an opinion. Their share of the truth and their values are rejected and, as a result, the life of society is impoverished and subjected to the hubris of the powerful."
Politics too suffers and it “no longer has to do with healthy debates about long-term plans to improve people’s lives and to advance the common good, but only with slick marketing techniques primarily aimed at discrediting others. In this craven exchange of charges and counter-charges, debate degenerates into a permanent state of disagreement and confrontation" (FT, 15).
On the contrary, “to care for the world in which we live means to care for ourselves. Yet we need to think of ourselves more and more as a single family dwelling in a common home" (FR, 17).
It is only by developing and transforming these words into facts that community involvement and the active participation of all become possible. The fields of this involvement and this participation are many.
A significant example is the circular economy, which is now penetrating into the conscience of the world as one of the necessary responses to the many problems of our common home - pollution, super-exploitation, a throwaway culture, lack of respect for nature and social life, inequality.
The circular economy is a production and consumption model that involves sharing, lending, reusing, repairing, reconditioning and recycling existing materials and products. This extends the life of products, helping to reduce waste. Just think that the European Union produces more than 2.5 billion tons of waste every year.
Another example is the 'right to repair’ or ‘Fair Repair’. It is a fact that resource-intensive consumer sectors, such as electronics and information and communication technologies, plastics and textiles enjoy the ‘right’ of ‘planned obsolescence’. It is the strategy aimed at defining the life a product lasts in order to limit its duration to a predetermined period. The product thus becomes unusable after a certain time, or simply becomes obsolete in the eyes of the consumer compared to the new models, although these are little or not at all better from a functional point of view. There is also perceived or symbolic obsolescence when the measure adopted to make a product obsolete ahead of time is advertising.
The circular economy is therefore the perfect and necessary field for the involvement of everyone - consumers, sellers, programmers, builders. This involvement is community-based because it requires science and awareness that can only be achieved through education and therefore through the participation of parents, schools, social organizations, local and national authorities.
As was rightly noted at the end of COP26, reducing atmospheric contamination is no longer enough; global consumption must shrink. The first step could be awareness of everyone that both production and consumption can shrink without renouncing the benefits achieved or aspired to, if we start giving a soul to the economy by transforming it into a circular economy.