Pope: FAO, looking to the future in the logic of "integral ecology"

Francis sends a message to the Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the ozone layer. An agreement that "represents a model of international cooperation not only in the area of environmental protection but also that of the promotion of integral human development".


Vatican City (AsiaNews) - An action aimed at the common good must be founded on dialogue for the sharing of responsibilities, on technological solutions that take into account the variety of existing relationships and on the basis of "integral ecology", a concept founded on the awareness that " everything is connected ".

This is the heart of Pope Francis’ message to the participants in the 31st Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol, which takes place at the FAO, from November 4 to 8, read today by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin.

Francis first of all states that the Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the ozone layer "represents a model of international cooperation not only in the area of environmental protection but also that of the promotion of integral human development".

The Pope then recalled that the Montreal Protocol followed the convention signed in Vienna 35 years ago, the first "legally binding one dedicated to the protection of the ozone layer" and that today has 197 signatory States. "These thirty-five years have produced positive results" from which "three lessons" can be drawn.

"First, there is a need to emphasize and appreciate how that regime arose from a broad and fruitful cooperation among different sectors: the scientific community, the political world, economic and industrial actors and civil society".

This shows that "important results" are achievable and that "“we have the freedom needed to limit and direct technology; we can put it at the service of another type of progress, one which is healthier, more human, more social, more integral” (Laudato Si’, 112). We are, writes Francis, facing a "cultural" challenge for or against the common good. "Here, an honest and fruitful dialogue truly capable of listening to different needs and free of special interests, together with a spirit of solidarity and creativity, are essential for the building of the present and future of our planet".

Likewise, and this is " the second lesson I would mention, this cultural challenge cannot be met solely on the basis of a technology that, “presented as the only way of solving these problems, in fact proves incapable of seeing the mysterious network of relations between things and so sometimes solves one problem only to create others” (Laudato Si’, 20).

This was evidenced by the need to adopt, in 2016, a new Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, the Kigali Amendment. That Amendment has the aim of prohibiting substances which, in themselves, do not contribute to damaging the ozone layer, but which affect the warming of the atmosphere and whose use has increased as a means of replacing certain substances harmful to the ozone layer".

The "third lesson" the importance that this care for our common home be anchored in the realization that “everything is connected”.

It can be said that the Kigali Amendment also appeals to this principle, since it represents a sort of bridge between the ozone problem and the phenomenon of global warming, thus highlighting their interaction".

We are living at an historic moment marked by challenges that are pressing yet stimulating for the creation of a culture effectively directed to the common good. This calls for the adoption of a farsighted vision on how most effectively to promote integral development for all the members of the human family, whether near or far in space or time. This vision must take shape in centres of education and culture where awareness is created, where individuals are trained in political, scientific and economic responsibility, and, more generally, where responsible decisions are made.”

"The continued acceleration of changes affecting humanity and our planet, coupled today with a more intense pace of life and work, should constantly urge us to ask whether the goals of this progress are truly directed to the common good and to a sustainable and integral human development, or whether they cause harm to our world and to the quality of life of much of humanity, now and in the future (Laudato Si’, 18).

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