Higher Power: Joining with Pope Francis in the Fight for Healthcare Justice

(COMMON DREAMS) RoseAnn DeMoro — Imagine if the tens of millions of nurses in the world start working actively together with the leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics, 16 percent of the planet’s population, on confronting the health consequences of climate change and environmental degradation.

And, jointly pressing all nations – including the most recalcitrant, our own – to accept healthcare as a fundamental human right.

That’s the goal of a petition campaign we’ve started seeking an audience with leaders of Global Nurses United with Pope Francis during his visit to the United States in September. Sign it online at

GNU, of course, is the global federation of 20 unions of nurses in 18 countries in the Americas, Africa, Asia, Australia, and Europe, including NNU, all of whom have been leading voices in their countries in fighting for healthcare justice, from pollution to the climate crisis, to the work for universal, guaranteed healthcare for all.

What precipitates this call for an audience with Pope Francis is the remarkable encyclical on the environment issued by the Vatican in June.  (It can be read in full at

Much of the press attention on the encyclical singled out one flamboyant line: “The earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth.”

Sadly, true enough. But there is far more. Pope Francis acknowledged the alarming rise of associated health hazards that nurses, including NNU members, have spoken out about for years.

“Some forms of pollution are part of people’s daily experience,” the Pope wrote. “Exposure to atmospheric pollutants produces a broad spectrum of health hazards, especially for the poor, and causes millions of premature deaths. “There is also pollution that affects everyone, caused by transport, industrial fumes, substances which contribute to the acidification of soil and water, fertilizers, insecticides, fungicides, herbicides and agrotoxins in general.”

Source: Higher Power: Joining with Pope Francis in the Fight for Healthcare Justice | Common Dreams | Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community