Sister Elizabeth Geraghty provides reflection and excerpts from Laudato Si’ (On Care for Our Common Home)
An assessment of the environmental impact on business ventures and projects demands transparent political processes involving a free exchange of views. On the other hand, the forms of corruption which conceal the actual environmental impact of a given project, in exchange for favors, usually produce specious agreements which fail to inform adequately and to allow for full debate.
This should be part of the process from the beginning and be carried out in a way which is interdisciplinary, transparent and free of all economic or political pressure.
The local population should have a special place at the table; they are concerned about their own future and that of their children, and can consider goals transcending immediate economic interest.
If objective information suggests that serious and irreversible damage may result, a project should be halted or modified, even in the absence of indisputable proof. Here the burden of proof is effectively reversed, since in such cases objective and conclusive demonstrations will have to be brought forward to demonstrate that the proposed activity will not cause serious harm to the environment or to those who inhabit it.
The outcome may be a decision not to proceed with a given project, to modify it or consider alternative proposals.
Politics must not be subject to the economy, nor should the economy be subject to the dictates of an efficiency-driven paradigm of technocracy. Today, in view of the common good, there is an urgent need for politics and economics to enter into a frank dialogue in the service of life, especially human life.