Headline: Workshop: A Letter from Rome: Laudato Si' as a Catalyst for Societal Tranformation?

Pope Francis. © L'Osservatore Romano

A year ago, the Vatican published Pope Francis’ long awaited encyclical letter Laudato Si’, which in light of the ecological crisis calls “every person” to “a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet.” Already before its release, the encyclical had generated an extensive conversation about the state of the planet and the role religion may play in addressing the issue of the ecological crisis. Given its universal intent and broad reception, Laudato Si’ warrants careful assessment, especially by those committed to a transdisciplinary process aimed at a societal transformation to just, equitable, and sustainable futures.

From September 12 to 14, a Workshop on Laudato Si’ will be held under the auspices of the IASS, the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), the Catholic University at Eichstätt-Ingolstadt, and the Federation of German Scientists (VDW). The workshop will revolve around integral ecology as the central framing concept of the encyclical and, using it as a starting point, engage three general guiding questions: First, is the analysis of the given social and environmental situation and its underlying causes offered by Laudato Si’ accurate? Second, does integral ecology along with the specific actions Pope Francis suggests provide a helpful and workable strategy in response to the ecological challenges we face? Third, to what extent can charismatic religious figures or statements offered by religious leaders catalyze societal transformation?

Participants include Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Hartmut Graßl, Celia Deane-Drummond, Mary Evelyn Tucker, Camilla Bausch, Markus Vogt, and Klaus Töpfer.

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