The Lord has put many here in every generation to educate and remind us that the earth — all its natural resources and fish and beasts and birds — is not ours to use/abuse at will. It, too, is finite and must be protected for coming generations from the terrible threats we battle from earlier generations and which we presently pose — not only cataclysms of extinctions, pollutions, deforestations, erosions, forced climate changes (and tectonic plate shifts), but from bombs and the second death they bring — earth/water/air poisoning. Death is death, whether immediate or slow.
The Pope says it better in Laudato Si’, but I’ve said it in the short version, and even the link above this line is an abbreviated view of the document (we might jump in deeper on its whole Chapter 6).
Not many listen to the Pope on such matters. It is easy enough to dismiss scientists, not to even mention native inhabitants who were true, respectful, responsible kin with the earth; indeed, then, it is even easier to dismiss warnings from religious figures and to suggest they stick to their own matters. Francis’ agenda (for the first time ever in papal history, he is patron saint-named for the Seraphic Father, peacemaker, and, along with our own St. Kateri, a patron saint of ecology) in this document, though, is not Francis’ own/alone. It is part of his Mater et Magistra job in this world, to awaken, advise, counsel asap in this accelerated lessening time about something dear to God, dear to us, dear to all inhabitants present and to come. In a papal document, there’s something for everyone — hence, 42,000 words — but they are universally important words. I sincerely wish KJ-U and DJT would be the next two to read some of them.