Pope Francis on Twitter: The Earth Looks Like ‘an Immense Pile of Filth,’ and It’s Capitalism’s Fault

Pope Francis
Pope Francis waves as he arrives to lead his weekly audience in St.Peter's square, at the Vatican City, May 13, 2015. Giampiero Sposito/Reuters

Shortly after releasing an encyclical on Thursday calling for environmental revolution to fix our climate change-plagued planet, Pope Francis followed up with a series of strongly-worded tweets calling destruction of the natural world a “sin,” and urging followers to recognize the lopsided effect it has on the poor.

 

In short, the pope just schooled the world on environmental justice, a term meant to address the fact that poor people incur the highest toll on their health and quality of life due to the environmental destruction.

The pope argued that to be just, the world needs to reorient its systems to afford equal protection from environmental hazards to everyone.

As the pope writes, that would mean revolutionizing the systems on which our world is built. Specifically, that means something other than the economic system we have now, which encourages growth at all costs.

The pope specifically called out consumerist society, and its dependence on fossil fuels.

But in a world oriented towards monetary success, that hope for justice is lost, he wrote.

Society treats market economics like a god, he wrote. When that happens, the markets, not the people, win out.

Pope Francis particularly singled out water scarcity issues as a pressing concern for environmental justice.

He focused his critique on market systems and the behavior of consumerist society. Capitalism, he implied, is a much bigger problem than overpopulation. That's not a surprise given the Catholic Church’s opposition to contraception, though he did tell Catholics to stop breeding “like rabbits." Plenty of scientists warn that lack of access to contraception is going to make climate change a lot more damaging.