While we’ve tied ourselves into knots over the Supreme Court and become glued to intra-Vatican spats, the earth steadily has gotten sicker. We’ve taken our eye off the big blue ball. That’s a mistake, because if we get care for creation wrong, nothing else will matter.

In 2015, Pope Francis issued what may be his most important encyclical. In “Laudato Si’” the Holy Father called on the world to dampen consumerism and understand that what we are doing to the environment has dire consequences, first for the poor and vulnerable, then for the rest of us. The pope stood up strongly for life, from the tiniest unborn child to the massive planet that sustains life.

The Catholic Church embraces science and scientists say human activity already has warmed the earth by 1 degree centigrade above pre-industrial levels. If we don’t do something serious, we’ll hit 1.5 degrees between 2030 and 2052.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change this month issued a report on the likely effects of exceeding the 1.5 degree threshold. It’s not pretty. Warmer oceans will change water chemistry and threaten life below the surface, setting off a chain reaction of food problems that will reach humans. The flooding of islands and low-lying coastal areas will threaten several hundred million human beings. The rich will be able to move, but the poor will need to fight Mad Max style to avoid drowning.

The IPCC report warns that warming will expand the range of diseases like malaria and dengue fever, even into the United States, for example.

It’s not too late to revive our Bible-commanded stewardship of God’s planet. “All of us can cooperate as instruments of God for the care of creation, each according to his or her own culture, experience, involvements and talents,” Pope Francis wrote in “Laudato Si’.” We must multitask. Here are some ideas: 

• Ride a bike to work. Many of you live in Portland, for heaven’s sake, a city that is bending over backward to make cycling safe and easy.

• Take the bus. Kudos to Trimet for expanding service.

• Get a hybrid car. Used models are coming on the market at a decent price.

• Write to government leaders and newspaper editors and ask for solid policy to halt climate change, including support for renewable energy. Tell them Pope Francis sent you.