Image of Cardinal Maradiaga: Flicker/ Christoph Müller-Girod
an education on environmental values that encourages a culture of vitality, healthiness, respect and responsibility, and that builds individuals endowed with a discerning and participative conscience. As long as it is not addressed in this manner, environmental education will do no more than supply knowledge on the natural world, overlooking one of its principal roles: encouraging a change in perception that may be conducive to the emergence of new values.
For the Church does her utmost to teach and to train men … The instruments which she employs are given to her by Jesus Christ Himself for the very purpose of reaching the hearts of men, and drive their efficiency from God. They alone can reach the innermost heart and conscience, and bring men to act from a motive of duty, to control their passions and appetites, to love God and their fellow men with a love that is outstanding and of the highest degree and to break down courageously every barrier which blocks the way to virtue. (Rerum Novarum, 26)
In my view, our primary environmental strategy should be environmental education: this is a pressing and ongoing requirement, because through an education on the environment, individuals, societies and states will become aware of the transcendent meaningfulness of the world around us. Education will thus enable us to constructively absorb the skills, the experience, the values and the determination that will prompt us to work to solve both present and future problems in this realm and address them as challenges pertaining to our responsibility for the sustainability of both the environment and mankind. (Emphasis added)
As such, you might imagine that I am delighted at what the PontificalAcademy of Science and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences are doing—how they are continuing the thoughts and mission of Leo XIII and his successors so that we today may reverse the often unbridled destruction of so much of God’s life-giving creation.