A Comparative Analysis of Laudato Si and the Rights of Nature Paradigm

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Dr. Henry L. Bernardo


The “Rights of Nature” movementpromotes a shift in the way we relate with Nature and believes that our ecosystem has inalienable rights that must be recognized and honored, much like our human rights.  In the Catholic Church, Pope Francis, is also a fervent advocate of caring for our environment. In 2015, he wrote the first official document in the Catholic Church that specifically deals entirely on this topic entitled Laudato Si or “On Care for Our Common Home”.  This paper provides a comparative analysis of the essential tenets of the Rights of Nature paradigm and the Catholic teaching on caring for the environment as presented in Pope Francis’ encyclical letter Laudato Si.  It employs the Comprehensive Literature Review (CLR) methodology in identifying the common themes and points of convergence between the two views.  The findings suggest that there are similarities and differences which may be grouped into three areas or themes: objectives, basic premise, and course of action.   This paper also provides an attempt to clarify Pope Francis’ opinion about ascribing “rights” to nature. Finally, the findings of this study could be very helpful in providing essential input for those involved in fields related to environmental preservation and conservation.  

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