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Pope Francis calls again for response to climate changePope Francis calls again for response to climate change

Vatican invites farming critics to be among the first to publicly interpret the new document.

Rachel Schutte

October 5, 2023

2 Min Read
People gather in gardens outside the Vatican
CALL FOR ACTION: Environmental experts gather in the Vatican Garden on Oct. 5 to comment on the release of the pope's new document targeting climate change.Vatican Media via Vatican Pool/Getty Images

Pope Francis on Oct. 5 made an urgent call for world leaders to slow climate change. The pope’s new teaching document “Laudaute Deum,“ meaning “Praise God,” comes nearly eight years after publishing the 2015 letter “Laudato Si.“

In the document, Pope Francis says responses to climate change have not been adequate, and the “world in which we live is collapsing and may be nearing the breaking point.”

Environmentalists from all over the world gathered in the Vatican Gardens today to comment on the new document. Farm Forward founding board member Jonathan Safran Foer gave an address responding to the pope’s document. Founded in 2007, Farm Forward’s mission is to “end factory farming by changing farming, changing policy and changing the stories we tell about animal agriculture.”

Foer urged eating fewer animal products and reforming food systems as powerful ways to respond to the pope’s call to address climate change. He also emphasized the need for policy changes and argued that individual actions are often what motivates governmental action.

By inviting Foer and other farming critics who advocate for reducing the consumption of animal products to be the first to interpret “Laudate Deum” publicly, the Vatican all but endorses a critique of animal agriculture.

According to a document shared by Farm Forward, “While 'Laudate Deum' does not get into the specifics of how to respond to climate change, the pope lays a powerful moral basis for reducing and ultimately ending our dependence on cruel and unsustainable factory farms.”

“What Pope Francis has done is enormously brave. I found myself deeply moved by 'Laudate Deum,' its decisive call to action and its bright moral core,” Foer said. “It reminded me of the deep roots of my own vegetarian commitments and why all of us need to support a more plant-based food system.”

About the Author(s)

Rachel Schutte

Content Producer, Farm Futures

Rachel grew up in central Wisconsin and earned a B.S. in soil and crop science from the University of Wisconsin - Platteville. Before joining the Farm Futures team, Rachel spent time in the field as an agronomist before transitioning to the world of marketing and communications. She now resides in northeast Iowa where she enjoys raising bottle calves and farming corn and soybeans alongside her husband and his family.

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