Today's biggest news may just hit Miami harder than any other city in the world. Pope Francis has released his encyclical, "Laudato Si," on the Good of the Common Home.
It states it's time to change the way we treat the planet. It starts out thusly, using "sister" to mean the Earth: "This sister now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her. We have come to see ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled to plunder her at will."
Miami artist Xavier Cortada has created a painting that illustrates the idea. "The opening artwork fittingly weaves together two important threads of church history: the beginning of the church and the modern era," says Fran Dubrowski, project director for Honoring the Future, the group that commissioned the painting.
In September, Francis will become the first pope to address Congress. He will also talk to the United Nations about the topic, which he says will mostly affect less developed countries and the poor.
But as Rolling Stone made clear in a June 2013 cover story, unless there is a radical change, Miami is doomed to become a "snorkeling spot." The story raises an interesting question: "One of the biggest uncertainties in Miami's future is how the rest of America will feel about rescuing the city. Nobody questioned the wisdom of spending $40 billion in tax dollars to rebuild after Katrina and another $60 billion to help rebuild after Sandy, but will they feel the same about Miami — land of millionaires and beach condos — when the time comes?"
The answer is probably no. And so far, neither Florida nor the United States has done nearly enough to prepare for the flood.
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The good news is there is some time to do something, and the pope, with this one document, has made the issue a much bigger deal.
We at New Times are no believers in any particular religion, but a part near the end of the encyclical states it succinctly for us: "We must regain the conviction that we... have a shared responsibility for others and the world, and that being good and decent are worth it... When the foundations of social life are corroded, what ensues are battles over conflicting interests, new forms of violence and brutality, and obstacles to the growth of a genuine culture of care for the environment."
Go get 'em, Francis!