In 2015, Pope Francis wrote an encyclical letter entitled "Laudato si', mi' Signore" (Italian for "Praised be, my Lord") which addresses the relationship between human beings and the natural world, and he calls for action to protect the environment by addressing the impact of climate change.
In "Laudato Si," Pope Francis argues that climate change is a global issue that affects everyone and is primarily caused by human activity. He calls for a shift in how we think about and use natural resources and a greater sense of responsibility and solidarity in addressing environmental issues. He also emphasizes the moral and spiritual dimensions of these issues and that its call to action is one of the most pressing issues of our time.
It has been almost eight years since the Pope wrote his letter. And there are still voices - and stories - left unheard. These voices are those of the poor and disenfranchised, the indigenous, the youth and the wildlife. The Youtube Originals film "The Letter: A Message for Our Earth" chronicles the stories of five individuals the Vatican chose to represent these voices.
From Senegal, to represent the impoverished, Arouna Kandé is a climate refugee whose family can no longer carry on their centuries of farming and herding tradition due to extreme droughts and growing deserts brought about by global warming. Representing the indigenous voices is Cacique Dadá, a community leader of the Borarí people who reside in the Maró Indigenous Territory, located in present-day Pará, Brazil. He has been fighting illegal loggers and logging companies, at the risk of his life, from destroying the Amazon as they only see it for the profits it can bring.
Ridhima Pandey, a young climate activist from India, is the youth's voice, having been an environmental activist since she was nine years old, suing the government of India and even filing a complaint with the UN. Finally, the husband and wife team, Drs. Greg Asner and Robin Martin represent the wildlife. They live in Hawaii and observe and record the effects of climate change by mapping the changes in tropical forests and threatened coral reefs.
The film shows what they, fully immersed in climate change issues, are experiencing first-hand. Their stories are powerful yet often heartbreaking and, more importantly, never heard of by the larger population. It follows their journey to Rome, engaging in groundbreaking dialogue with the Pope so that he could listen to their insights, see their perspectives and come up with solutions together.
Directed by: Nicolas Brown