The doctrine of 'the preferential option for the poor' has deep roots in Catholic social thought. It proposes that the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable be given priority when creating and evaluating public policies, actions, and attitudes. More recently, the obligation to care for natural environment in an ethical way has been gaining more attention both in the secular world as well as among Catholic scholars who seek to explore the scope of human responsibility for the created world. This paper explores the intersection of the preferential option for the poor and environmental ethics. After a general discussion of the preferential option for the poor, the paper traces six traditional Catholic principles of environmental ethics and explores the ways in which eachis inextricably intertwined with the preferential option.
Lucia A. Silecchia, The Preferential Option for the Poor: An Opportunity and a Challenge for Environmental Decision Making, 5 U. ST. THOMAS L. J. 87 (2008).