Mini-course explaining the Pope's Encyclical "Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home"

francis-pigeon The Sustainable Development Solutions Network on-line education program (SDSNEDU) has produced a self-paced mini-course explaining Pope Francis’s Encyclical “Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home“. It’s free and open to everyone.

Course Summary

In this vital year for sustainable development, Pope Francis – spiritual leader to the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics – issued an encyclical called Laudato Si’: On Care of our Common Home. Although rooted in the long and deep tradition of Catholic social teaching, this encyclical is addressed not only to Catholics, but to all people of the world. In blunt terms, it draws attention to the nature of the grave ecological crisis that humanity has created, and it issues a moral clarion call for urgent action to protect the earth and its inhabitants from ruin.

Never before has an encyclical been so anticipated, and no encyclical has ever captured the imagination of the world like this one. Part of the reason for this lies in its timing—issued in the months leading up to adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals and the last-ditch climate negotiations in Paris. In many ways, Laudato Si’ can be read as a moral charter for sustainable development. It provides a firm ethical foundation for actions that need to be taken urgently at all levels—global, national, local, and personal too. This is what makes it so important.

This short course provides an overview of the main themes and messages of Laudato Si’. It does not presume any prior familiarity with either Catholic teaching or the sustainable development agenda. It guides the listener through the basic structure of the encyclical—diagnosis of the ecological crisis, overview of its theological and philosophical underpinnings, evaluation of the human behavior at its root, the need for institutional solutions, and the call for personal conversion. It is hoped that this course can help disseminate the important message of Laudato Si’ to the world, and so help with the implementation of the all-important sustainable development agenda.


Because this is offered as a mini-series, there are no quizzes or assessments. As such, no certificates will be offered upon completion. Our objective with this mini-series is to encourage dialogue about a critical aspect of sustainable development: the moral responsibility to live sustainably. Therefore, we encourage you to discuss and debate in the discussion forum and share your thoughts and ideas.


Click on the web link to register and learn about this very important message to the people of the world. (Free)

Mini-Series Outline

  • Chapter I: Pope Francis & the Encyclical
  • Presented by Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson
  • Chapter II: On Care for Our Common Home
  • Presented by Professor Jeffrey Sachs
  • Chapter III: Theology, Philosophy & the Encyclical
  • Presented by Bishop Marcelo Sachez Sorondo
  • Chapter IV: Human Roots of the Ecological Crisis
  • Presented by Dr. Anthony Annett
  • Chapter V: Global, National & Local Solutions
  • Presented by Professor Jeffrey Sachs
  • Chapter VI: International Ecological Conversion
  • Presented by Dr. William Vendley


Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson
President, Pontifical Council for Justice & Peace

Cardinal Turkson is a Ghanaian cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He is president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace since his appointment by Pope Benedict XVI on 24 October 2009. Cardinal Turkson is one of the primary architects of the Laudato Si’ and has served as the public face of Pope Francis’ position on human-induced climate change.

Professor Jeffrey Sachs
Director, Earth Institute & Sustainable Development Solutions Network

Professor Jeffrey Sachs is the Director of the Earth Institute, Director of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, Quetelet Professor of Sustainable Development, and Professor of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University. He is Special Advisor to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the Millennium Development Goals. He has authored three New York Times bestsellers, and leads several other SDSNedu courses, most notably The Age of Sustainable Development.

Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo
Chancellor, Pontifical Academy of Sciences & Social Sciences

Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo is an Argentine Catholic Bishop and the current Chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, based at the Vatican. Having issued various publications in the sciences, Bishop Sorondo has also earned a number of honors, including the Legion d’Honneur of France in 2000.

Dr. Anthony Annett
Climate Change Development Advisor, Earth Institute

Anthony Annett is a Climate Change and Sustainable Development Advisor at the Earth Institute at Columbia University. Working closely with Religions for Peace, he leads the institute’s initiative to strengthen the engagement of the world’s religious communities in the climate change and sustainable development agenda.

Dr. William Vendley
Secretary General, Religions for Peace International

Dr. William Vendley is the Secretary General of Religions for Peace International, the world’s largest and most representative multi-religious coalition advancing common action for peace by working to advance multi-religious consensus on positive aspects of peace as well as concrete actions to stop war, help eliminate poverty, and protect the earth. He is a member of its World Council, which consists of 60 senior religious leaders from all continents.


Click on the web link to register and learn about this very important message to the people of the world. (Free)