This Monday, March 11, marks the 11th anniversary of the “white smoke” that consecrated Pope Francis as the first Latin American pope, who gave the Church the gift of Laudato Si’, putting the cry of the earth and the poor first.

Today we would like to recall 11 key moments (and 11 phrases) in which our Pontiff spoke about integral ecology, not only in the encyclical that gives our movement its name, but also in apostolic exhortations, speeches and messages that forged his pontificate and today allow us to put the care of our common home at the center.

1. Laudato Si' publication

“The urgent challenge to protect our common home includes a concern to bring the whole human family together to seek a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change” (LS 13). 

We could highlight many quotes from Laudato Si’. But in number 13 Francis speaks of the urgency and concern that we, as a human family, should unite in this cause. Because there is hope and only together we can achieve transformational change.

2. World Meeting of Popular Movements - Bolivia 2015

“Our common home is being pillaged, laid waste and harmed with impunity. Cowardice in defending it is a grave sin.”

On his apostolic trip to Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay, July 5-13, 2015, the Pope took the opportunity to promote his recently published encyclical. He did so by meeting with popular movements in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia. 

3. Respect for Creation - The Pope's Video

“[I wish] That we may take good care of creation–a gift freely given–cultivating and protecting it for future generations.”

In February 2016, the intention of the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network (Apostleship of Prayer) was “respect for creation” and the Pope’s Video was promoted worldwide with this fundamental message for “believers and non-believers”.

4. Symposium for energy transition and care of the common home

“Civilization requires energy, but energy use must not destroy civilization” (2018). “A radical energy transition is needed to save our common home”  (2019).

In 2018 Francis met in audience with the participants at the Meeting for Executives of the main Companies of the Oil and Natural Gas Sectors, and other energy-related activities. The following year, the meeting was repeated with another strong message for the leaders.

5. Third anniversary of Laudato Si'

“We all know that much still needs to be done.” “A financial paradigm shift is needed, for the sake of promoting integral human development.” 

On July 6, 2018, Francis convened an International Conference in the framework of the third anniversary of the publication of the encyclical Laudato Si’. There he took the opportunity to remind participants of the urgency: “There is a real danger that we will leave future generations only rubble, deserts and refuse.”

6. Synod of the Amazon and publication of the Apostolic Exhortation “Querida Amazonia”

“Each distinct species has a value in itself, yet each year sees the disappearance of thousands of plant and animal species which we will never know, which our children will never see, because they have been lost forever” (QA 54).

After the synod held in 2019, the apostolic exhortation “Querida Amazonia” was published, a proposal for new paths of evangelization and care for the environment and the poor. In it, Francis shares his “Dreams for the Amazon”, whose destiny should concern everyone, because this land is also “ours”.

7. Invitation to celebrate Laudato Si' Week 2020

“I renew my urgent call to respond to the ecological crisis. The cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor cannot continue.”

On the occasion of the fifth anniversary of Laudato Si’ and in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Pope Francis called for participation in the global Laudato Si’ Week campaign to care for creation, “a gift of our good Creator God.”

8. Earth Day 2021

“God always forgives, we forgive sometimes, but nature never forgives.”

On Earth Day, April 22, 2021, the Pope sent a strong message to all people of good will: “The COVID crisis and the climate crisis show that we no longer have time to wait […] Now is the time to act, we are at the limit.”

9. His speech in the film The Letter

“We are facing a human, social problem; a problem where we are destroying the gift of God. The gift of nature.” “A much greater ecological awareness needs to be created.” 

In 2022, the film “The Letter” was released, the documentary in which Pope Francis played a leading role, in dialogue with five people affected first-hand by the climate crisis.

The film, presented by YouTube Originals, was produced by the Oscar-winning team Off the Fence (My Octopus Teacher) in collaboration with Laudato Si’ Movement and the Dicastery for Communication and the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.

10. Laudate Deum Publication

“Despite all attempts to deny, conceal, gloss over or relativize the issue, the signs of climate change are here and increasingly evident” (LD 5).

On October 4th, 2023, eight years after the publication of the encyclical Laudato Si’ on the care of the common home, Pope Francis published an apostolic exhortation as a complement and update. Laudate Deum warns us of the urgency and necessity of taking action.

11. Pope Francis' Address to COP 28

“The destruction of the environment is an offense against God, a sin that is not only personal but also structural, one that greatly endangers all human beings, especially the most vulnerable in our midst and threatens to unleash a conflict between generations.”

Although he was unable to participate in person at the COP in Dubai, Pope Francis was especially concerned to get his message across “because time is short,” and decisions at climate summits are especially important for the changes that the Pontiff seeks and suggests.