Much of the media attention on Pope Francis’ recent encyclical focused on its recognition of the causes of global warning and the impact that the Pope might have on international and domestic climate politics, Less publicized, but possibly more impactful in the long term, is the Pope’s call to consumers to wield their purchasing power as a force for change.
Pope Francis writes:
“A change in lifestyle could bring healthy pressure to bear on those who wield political, economic and social power. This is what consumer movements accomplish by boycotting certain products. They prove successful in changing the way businesses operate, forcing them to consider their environmental footprint and their patterns of production. When social pressure affects their earnings, businesses clearly have to find ways to produce differently. This shows us the great need for a sense of social responsibility on the part of consumers. ‘Purchasing is always a moral – and not simply economic – act.’ Today, in a word, ‘the issue of environmental degradation challenges us to examine our lifestyle.” (Laudato Si, Para. 206)