World History & Culture

Following St. Francis: John Paul II's Call for Ecological Action

The first book to present the environmental teachings of this beloved pope—the newly canonized St. John Paul—and the hopeful words of Pope Francis, thoughtfully synthesized into a complete spiritual and practical vision for the future.

"The ecological crisis is a moral crisis." So said Pope John Paul II, an unexpected and fierce advocate for ecological responsibility throughout his papacy. Rather than seeing environmental concerns as “earthly” or “political,” he showed that they are in fact at the heart of the covenant between human beings and their Creator. In dozens of addresses, sermons, and encyclicals, Pope John Paul II made specific recommendations on twelve interconnected ecological issues, including climate change, ocean destruction, water scarcity, poverty, the role of women, and war. He showed that each could become a source of spiritual, social, and economic transformation.

Following St. Francis integrates Pope John Paul II’s vision with that of St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of ecology, and the galvanizing words of Pope Francis. Accessible and illuminating, it speaks to hearts and minds, to nonreligious readers as well as devoted Catholics, incorporating Scripture, current science, and inspiring stories of solutions and restoration. Marybeth Lorbiecki unifies and champions the late, beloved pope’s view that all life issues are related and that all forms of life deserve care. And if we work with God and each other to protect them, we can “renew the face of the earth” (Psalm 104:30).

About The Author

Marybeth Lorbiecki, M.A., is Director of the Interfaith Ocean Ethics Campaign, a joint program of the National Religious Coalition on Creation Care (NRCCC) and the Franciscan Action Network. The Vatican Office of Peace and Justice has sought her out for consultation on her compilation of Pope John Paul II’s ecological teachings, the only collection they know to exist. She is a former adjunct university professor, and author of the award-winning biography of the conservationistAldo Leopold, A Fierce Green Fire, as well as numerous children’s books.  

Bill McKibben
is the author of a dozen bestselling books about the environment, beginning with The End of Nature in 1989, which is regarded as the first book for a general audience on climate change. He is a founder of the grassroots climate campaign, and was awarded the Steward of God's Creation Award by the NRCCC in 2013. Time magazine called him “the planet's best green journalist.” A Schumann Distinguished Scholar at Middlebury College, he holds honorary degrees from a dozen universities, and is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

  • Publish Date: April 01, 2014
  • Format: eBook
  • Category: Religion - Christian Living - Social Issues
  • Publisher: Rizzoli Ex Libris
  • Pages: 384
  • US Price: $14.99
  • CDN Price: $25.95
  • ISBN: 978-0-8478-4273-5


"During his papacy, Pope John Paul II was an unexpected environmental advocate. Marybeth Lorbiecki’s compilation of sections of his hundreds of speeches, sermons, and encyclicals in her book Following St. Francis, shows how John Paul II connected care of the environment with a just human society. This easily accessible book examines spiritual, moral, social, and economical topics for Catholics and non-Catholics alike" -US Catholic Magazine

"Engaging . . . Some of the world's poorest people are currently on the front lines of climate change. Marybeth Lorbiecki makes us aware that Pope John Paul II and our new Vatican leadership views this threat as a great moral and spiritual issue of our day, impacting all of God's creation." -Rabbi Warren G. Stone, National Religious Coalition on Creation Care

Author Bookshelf: Bill McKibben