Mankind is now facing global socio-environmental challenges. Depletion of natural resources, pollution of the environment, lack of access to drinking water, deforestation, biodiversity loss, climate change, degradation of ecological systems - all these things are just some of the symptoms of the current environmental crisis. Anthropogenic impact on the environment has no analogues in history and boomerang returns to man, threatening his health and life, negatively affecting the social well-being of contemporaries and future generations.

Current attempts to resolve the environmental crisis are mostly aimed at overcoming the consequences, rather than eliminating the causes and are of superficial character. There is a lack of a systematic approach, consolidation of efforts on a sustainable basis and sequence of actions.


In this context, the urgent question arises of finding an answer to the question: how can humanity save its common home - the planet Earth and achieve integral development to build a harmonious and just society.

An important contribution to this process is the encyclical of Pope Francis “Laudato si’, mi’ Signore” – “Praise be to you, my Lord: on care for our common home", which contains the doctrine of integral ecology as the key to overcoming the current environmental crisis.

The key to understanding the integral ecology of Pope Francis is to state that everything is interconnected, in the principle of interconnectedness, which formulates an ethical requirement to understand the ontological interconnectedness and interdependence of different areas of human life, including personal, social, economic and environmental spheres.

The methodology of the integral ecology of Pope Francis consists in the triad "look - evaluate-analyze - act!" In six sections of the document, he presents the Church's teaching on existing environmental problems, their root causes, as well as key preconditions and tools for overcoming them.

  1. What happens to our common home, or "hear the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor"

The first chapter of Laudato si' encyclical, entitled "What is Happening to Our Common Home" (LS, 17-61), relies on scientific data and provides a brief list of key symptoms of the current environmental crisis, including air, land and water pollution, and depletion of natural resources, climate change and the destruction of biodiversity of fauna and flora. The Holy Father notes the close connection between environmental problems and medical, social and economic ones. Environmental pollution causes a wide range of diseases and millions of premature deaths (LS, 20), increasing global poverty and creating the phenomenon of environmental refugees (LS, 25). The depletion of natural resources leads to the violation of social justice (LS, 51) and contributes to the outbreak of wars, which, in turn, always cause severe consequences for the environment and cultural heritage of peoples (LS, 57).

Analyzing current environmental issues, Pope Francis focuses primarily on their internal causes. " The earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth. " (LS, 21), says the Holy Father, linking environmental pollution with a kind of "waste culture" in which everyone is used to throwing everything away and which is not only turns things fast into rubbish, but also affects the least protected groups in society (LS, 22).

  1. The ecological vocation to "till and keep it" (Gen 2,15)

In the second chapter (LS, 62-100), entitled “The Gospel of Creation”, based on Scripture, the Pope reveals the notion of human dignity and the value of the whole world as God's creation. Each creature has its own value and reflects God's infinite wisdom and goodness (LS, 69). All creation is the fruit of God's wisdom and love and is destined to partake of the mystery of Christ, present in all things from the beginning (LS, 99).

In accordance with the dignity of God's image (cf. Gen 1,26), man is called to "till and keep it" (Gen 2,15) the created world, in view of the order and harmony laid down here by the Creator (LS, 68). The Holy Father, invoking St. John Paul II teaches that for Christians the question of responsibility for the created world is an integral part of their faith (LS, 64).

In fact, here Pope Francis lays a solid (biblical-theological) foundation for a integral ecology, recalling the statement of the Book of Genesis that “human life is grounded in three fundamental and closely intertwined relationships: with God, with our neighbor and with the earth itself. » (LS, 66). The rupture of these ties is defined by the Pope as a sin, which also distorts our "care for the earth" mandate and leads to the consequences that initially harmonious relationship between man and nature become conflicted (LS, 66).

  1. The Human Roots of the Ecological Crisis

The third chapter of the encyclical entitled "The Human Root of the Ecological Crisis" (LS, 101-136) is devoted to finding the roots of the ecological crisis, to which Pope Francis attributes scientific and technological progress that recognizes no restrictions and ethical responsibility, globalization of the technocratic paradigm, modern anthropocentrism and relativism, as well as a disordered desire to consume more than is actually needed.

The Holy Father especially warns against the danger of perceiving nature exclusively as matter that can be arbitrarily used (LS, 115), and perceiving himself as the absolute master of reality, which leads to the destruction of our existential basis and causes the revolt of nature (LS, 117).

"There can be no ecology without an adequate anthropology " (LS, 118) - says Pope Francis, encouraging a better knowledge of his true nature, dignity and the gifts of knowledge, will, freedom and personal responsibility received from the Creator, through which we can better feel and realize responsibility for the world .

  1. Integral ecology

In the fourth chapter of the encyclical entitled "Integral Ecology" (LS, 137-162), the pontiff emphasizes the importance of a integral ecology as a prerequisite for solving pressing environmental problems. Environmental issues cannot be solved in fragments or by eliminating the consequences of the destruction of the natural environment. It is important to identify the multifaceted relationships between man, his social environment and the natural environment and to try to solve environmental problems as a whole, shaping the ecology of the economy, society, culture and everyday life (LS, 138-154). It is necessary to nurture the ecology of the environment, which is based on human ecology, which is essentially determined by life in accordance with the moral law written by the Creator in human nature (LS, 155).

  1. Dialogue and cooperation

при цьому непопулярних заходів, які вимагають обмеження споживання … (LS,178).

The fifth section of the encyclical, entitled "Lines of Approach and Action" (LS, 163-201), sets out key guidelines and recommendations for the implementation of a "integral ecology" and responsibility for the world in which we live. The Pope emphasizes the importance of realizing that the planet is our Motherland and that humanity is a people living in a unique home (LS, 164). Everyone should contribute to the preservation of this home, adhering to the appropriate lifestyle, production methods and consumption behavior. Relevant national and international environmental policies and legislation are of particular importance. The Pope warns against populist and short-sighted policies aimed at winning the votes of voters, while avoiding unpopular measures that require restrictions on consumption… (LS, 178).

There is no uniform recipes for preserving a common home given national and local specificities and circumstances (LS, 180), but there are many different effective environmental mechanisms, including “favouring forms of industrial production with maximum energy efficiency and diminished use of raw materials, removing from the market products which are less energy efficient or more polluting, improving transport systems, and encouraging the construction and repair of buildings aimed at reducing their energy consumption and levels of pollution. Political activity on the local level could also be directed to modifying consumption, developing an economy of waste disposal and recycling, protecting certain species and planning a diversified agriculture and the rotation of crops». (LS, 180).

A healthy dialogue between politics and economics is important for integral human development (LS, 189-198). The contribution of public organizations, through which society should control and put pressure on the government to optimize its service to the common good and preserve the natural heritage, is also significant (LS, 179). One of the important preconditions for a "integral ecology" and the improvement of the natural environment and the development of the common good is to join forces in the fight against corruption (LS, 177).

  1. On the pass to ecological conversion

"Many things have to change course, but it is we human beings above all who need to change. We lack an awareness of our common origin, of our mutual belonging, and of a future to be shared with everyone. " (LS, 202), - states in the sixth chapter the Author of the encyclical and focuses on the topic of environmental education and spirituality (LS, 202-246) as key elements of integral ecology and tools of preservation of our common home. "The external deserts in the world are growing, because the internal deserts have become so vast (LS, 217)," - Pope Francis said, referring to Benedict XVI. Accordingly, to overcome the current ecological crisis, a deep and integral conversion to God is necessary, as a result of which "the consequences of meeting Jesus Christ will be manifested in (…) attitude to the world around us" (LS, 217). Evidence of this conversion is the awareness of the world as a gift of Heavenly Father's love that evokes sense of gratitude and selflessness (LS, 220), as well as  new attitude in Christ toward natural gifts and their wise and responsible use in daily life (LS, 211).

Teaching about the importance of environmental education, the Pope emphasizes the leading role of the family, which is the center of the culture of life in the midst of the culture of death and the place where God's gift of life can be properly accepted and protected (LS, 213). It is in the family that we must learn the basics of love and respect for life, the proper use of things, the keeping of order and cleanliness, respect for the local ecosystem and care for creation (LS, 213). The role of school, politics, public organizations and mass media is important in ecological education (LS, 213-214). An integrated and systematic approach is important: fostering a new way of thinking and ecological responsibility of a person at the micro level, institutionalization nature at the meso level and relevant national and international environmental policies and legislation (macro level). Pope Francis focuses on changing patterns of quality of life, understanding of development, economic growth and consumption. Success depends on a critical number of people who will change their lifestyle, exert healthy pressure, and foster ecoligization of political, economic, and social power (LS, 206).

The Church, which consists of a global network of communities operating at the national and local levels, has a special role and competence in the process of ecological education and promotion of the ecological conversion of modern humanity. According to Pope Francis, the Church must carry out ecological education primarily in the process of catechesis (LS, 213), cultivating an authentic and integral faith, an integral element of which is effective love and responsibility to God and neighbor, as well as responsibility for our common house of God in their inseparable relationship.

The ecological mission of the Church consists first of all in the new (eco) evangelization, i.e. service for the meeting of modern man with Christ in the context of modern social and ecological challenges.

Pope Francis emphasizes the special role of seminaries and educational institutions of monastic congregations (LS, 214) in cultivating ecological consciousness, moderation, grateful contemplation of God's creation, caring for the needs of the poor, and protecting the environment.

An important aspect of church environmental education is the cultivation of awareness of the sacramental dimension of creation and the very sacramental human life(LS, 233-237).


The key in Pope Francis' encyclical "Be Glorified", as well as the main result of his concept of "integral ecology" is the statement that everything is interconnected, we are all responsible for the created world and each of us is called to become an instrument in God's hands to save his creation. (LS, 14). Everyone is called to glorify God with all his life, with the development and multiplication of the gifts and virtues received, with the sharing of these gift and service in the family and society, as well as in the whole world created by God.

The environmental issue cannot be solved in fragments or by eliminating the consequences of the destruction of the natural environment. It is important to identify the multifaceted relationships between man, his social environment and the natural environment and to try to solve environmental problems integrally, shaping the ecology of the economy, society, culture and everyday life. Should be nurtured the ecology of the environment, which is based on human ecology, which is essentially determined by life in accordance with the moral law written by the Creator in the human nature.

The Pope states that the ecological crisis, like any social crisis, is rooted primarily in the crisis of personality, values, worldview and attitude to God, and it is here that effective solutions must be sought first.

In order to preserve our common home, a global ecological conversion of all participants in the social process is necessary, beginning with the conversion of the heart, awareness of one's personal place and responsibility in God's house.

Each person whom the Creator has called to exist leaves his own unique socio-ecological trace. At the same time, everything matters. Changing mindsets, lifestyles and behaviors, consumption, communication, work and leisure, even the slightest act of caring for the environment, every kilowatt or even watt of energy saved can be a significant expression of love for God and neighbor and our "widow's contribution" to preservation of our common home.

The environmental contribution of all, without exception, participants in the social process in accordance with the principles of solidarity and subsidiarity is important, including the family, school and the media. Relevant national and international environmental policies and legislation are of particular importance.

The defining role and competence in the process of promoting the global ecological conversion of modern humanity is played by the Church, which is called to nurture human ecology based on God's natural law, which is a prerequisite for environmental ecology.

Pope Francis is aware that often in the church environment, even active and devout Christians do not take environmental issues seriously. The Holy Father characterizes such an attitude as a lack of consistency and conformity of life in the Christian faith and a lack of witness to the true encounter of man with Christ, since this is not confirmed by the attitude to the environment (LS, 217). The Pope therefore recalls that the practical fulfillment of the vocation of the defender of God's world belongs to the essence of the Christian life and calls for an authentic and integral ecological conversion, which should culminate in the song of glorification of the Creator with all person’s life and attitude to others, that so brilliantly embodied the practitioner of integral ecology - St. Francis of Assisi (LS, 10).