Rejecting the throwaway culture


by Samantha Panchèvre

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Chapter 1, Section 1: Pollution and Climate Change

In the first chapter of Laudato Si', Pope Francis refers to "a throwaway culture which affects the excluded just as it quickly reduces things to rubbish." (22)

He provides the example of paper, most of which we throw away rather than recycle after it has been used once.

He later continues: "our industrial system, at the end of its cycle of production and consumption, has not developed the capacity to absorb and reuse waste and by-products. We have not yet managed to adopt a circular model of production capable of preserving resources for present and future generations, while limiting as much as possible the use of non-renewable resources, moderating their consumption, maximizing their efficient use, reusing and recycling them."


Consider whether your lifestyle includes any of the actions Francis mentions in this passage. What is one change you can make to reuse or recycle a commonly used item rather than buying new?


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that textile waste occupies nearly 5 percent of all landfill space. This month, shop for clothing at a consignment store instead of buying new. This might feel like an obstacle while we're social distancing, but you can find great online sites for browsing secondhand clothes, including ThredUp and Poshmark.

Digging Into Laudato Si’

Join EarthBeat on an exploration of Laudato Si' through a social, political and spiritual lens. Three times a week, we’ll dive into a new section of the papal document, leading readers through an informal study of the call to care for our common home, five years on.

Read | Reflect | Act

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This story appears in the Digging Into Laudato Si' feature series. View the full series.

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