St. Olaf College | News

Religion professor’s essay on pope’s ‘faithful ecology’ included in book

EricksonJake300x400When Pope Francis released his encyclical address Laudato si’: On care of our common home this June, he called for action and engaged dialogue about the pressing global threat of climate change and ecological destruction. St. Olaf College Instructor in Religion and Environmental Studies Jacob Erickson ’06 answered that call.

Erickson’s essay, Falling in Love with the Earth: Francis’ Faithful Ecology, is one of 60 to be featured in the new book For Our Common Home: Process-Relational Responses to Laudato Si’.

The book, edited by John B. Cobb Jr. (the author of For the Common Good, with Herman Daly) and Ignacio Castuera with an introduction by prominent environmentalist Bill McKibben, strives to open a discussion in response to Pope Francis’ encyclical by offering “support, constructive criticism, and proposals for implementing the pope’s ideas.”

EricksonJakeBookCover250x375Erickson’s piece was originally published by the independent online magazine Religion Dispatches earlier this summer.

“I think what a message like Pope Francis’ does is remind us of the deeply ordinary human and moral dimensions of ecology and climate change,” Erickson writes in his essay. “The words remind us of our responsibility.”

He praises the letter’s poetic genius in translating the often-overwhelming problem of ecological damage into relatable, human terms.

“Learning how to love the earth, how to build homes together in precarious climates, how to reconsider daily lives, how to daily protest structural economic systems, how to consider our animal interactions — all that is what creating a planetary resilience is about,” Erickson says. “This encyclical, as I read it, is simultaneously an act of love, an act of protest, and a hope for resilience.”