Pope Francis' canticle, Laudato Si¸ finds its roots in a hymn written by St. Francis of Assisi. The hymn spoke of "Brothers" Sun and Fire, as well as "Sisters" Moon and Water, powerful metaphors that must've resonated deeply within the Pope and the saint. Curiously enough however, one of the Pope's scientific advisors may take the figurative statements of the hymn a little too realistically.
Hans Schellnhuber, a self-professed atheist, is one of Pope Francis' prominent scientific advisors. What makes him even more remarkable, apart from his disbelief in a universal, omnipotent deity, is the fact that his beliefs lie very close to nature, according to The Stream.
Schellnhuber's beliefs are most accurately called Pantheism, a variation of atheism which involves a belief system rooted in the concept of the Earth being a living, breathing organism, much like the mythological Gaia. Beyond considering the planet as a living being, pantheists believe that the Earth has a system equivalent to the human brain, which in turn reacts to the destructive things that humans initiate, reports Rush Limbaugh.
The beliefs of the Pope's scientific advisor follows the Gaia principle, which was first advanced by chemist John Lovelock and microbiologist Lynn Margulis in the 1970's. The principle states that Mother Earth is alive, and to a point, even aware in some ill-defined, mystical manner. This means that the planet is quite literally the "brother" or "sister" to human beings, according to The Stream.
Schellnhuber has previously stated his beliefs in the Gaia principle, stating that "the Gaia approach may even include the influence of biospheric activities on the Earth's plate-tectonic processes." This means that, in a very concise manner, natural calamities and events do not affect human life; rather, it is human life that influences natural calamities and events.