On June 18, 2015, Pope Francis addressed the world about the fate of the planet, focusing especially on the threat of climate disaster. He called for a worldview that would emphasize the interconnectedness of things and what he called an “integral ecology.” In Claremont, CA, earlier the same month, a conference called “Seizing an Alternative,” keynoted by Bill McKibben, also focused attention on climate change and called for a new worldview that would reflect the interconnectedness of all things, or an “ecological civilization.” The conference leaders saw that their aims and hopes now had a global leader. The goals of an integral ecology and an ecological civilization are the same. The task now for those who care about the fate of the world is to give whatever support they can to Pope Francis. As a first step, more than 60 persons involved in that conference answered the pope’s call for dialogue and wrote responses to the pope’s encyclical letter, Laudato si’. This book is a collection of those essays, written by people representing a diversity of faith traditions and cultures and many fields of activity and inquiry. They offer support, constructive criticism, and proposals for implementing the pope’s ideas. To engage a larger public, it is important to engage the encyclical seriously, by widening and deepening the discussion. This book is offered in the hopes of facilitating that conversation.
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