October 4, 2023, Pope Francis released an Apostolic Exhortation (Laudate Deum) on the climate crisis and the need for a paradigm shift in our relationship with Nature. The publication speaks to the principles of the Rights of Nature and discusses the urgent need for a paradigm shift away from an exploitative anthropocentric perception and relationship with Nature.
In the section titled “Rethinking our Use of Power”, Pope Francis states:
“Contrary to this technocratic paradigm, we say that the world that surrounds us is not an object of exploitation, unbridled use and unlimited ambition. Nor can we claim that nature is a mere ‘setting’ in which we develop our lives and our projects. For ‘we are part of nature, included in it and thus in constant interaction with it’, and thus ‘we [do] not look at the world from without but from within'” (section 25). He further states that “a healthy ecology is also the result of interaction between human beings and the environment, as occurs in the indigenous cultures and has occurred for centuries in different regions of the earth.” (section 27).
It also references his 2015 Encyclical Letter (Laudato si) that he published about the suffering planet and his concerns about the care of our common home, stating that “with the passage of time, I have realized that our responses have not been adequate, while the world in which we live is collapsing and may be nearing the breaking point.”
In 2022, GARN Latin America Hub representatives and Argentinian environmental lawyers, Enrique Viale and Rafael Colombo, met with Pope Francis and discussed the Rights of Nature during a meeting at the Vatican City in Rome. This latest publication speaks to the principles of the Rights of Nature, demonstrating the Church’s growing support of the cause.