12/13/2018, 18.00
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Pope calls for respect and 'tenderness' towards the earth to feed all, without waste

In a message to a conference promoted by FAO, Francis notes that in many places "water is contaminated, garbage accumulates, deforestation progresses, the air is stale and the soil acidified. All this generates a harmful accumulation of evils and miseries."

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis sent a message to the ‘Water, Agriculture and Food. Building tomorrow’ conference sponsored by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) currently underway at the Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingeniería Agronomy, Alimentaria y de Biosistemas, of the Universidad politécnica of Madrid.

In his address, the pontiff says that humanity must seek to build "a fair and inclusive society" to eradicate the scourge of hunger whilst showing respect for the land, which must be treated "with tenderness". In far too many places, "water is contaminated, garbage accumulates, deforestation progresses, the air is stale and the soil acidified. This generates a harmful accumulation of evils and miseries."

In the Bible, Francis notes, rain and harvest are connected and Isaiah compares God’s word to the rainwater that soaks the earth, which springs to life.

"Biblical wisdom saw a close connection between these elements and interpreted them from the point of view of gratitude, never rapaciousness or exploitation. Faith and believers’ experience spark such recognition, which drives us towards a pressing call for a sense of responsibility, and not to be caught up in petty calculations that prevent us from helping the less well-off who are deprived of what is basic."

The Holy Father goes on to focus on the word "building" in the meeting’s title, a term that exudes "a sense of positivity, of providing benefits, openness to others and encompasses reciprocity and collaboration.”

"These keys should not be forgotten, for the tomorrow we all desire can only be the result of loyal, supportive and generous cooperation" in "a society centred on people and their fundamental rights, without being misled by questionable interests that enrich only the few, who unfortunately are always the same." This will give future generations "the necessary resources to enjoy a full and dignified life."

The scourge of hunger, Francis points out, still affects a large section of humanity, even though the Earth has enough resources for everyone. For this reason, it must be protected, "its beauty and broad variety of ecosystems safeguarded, farming the land with care and without greed, avoiding irreversible damage."

Wasting food is another issue. For the pope, "it is essential to teach children and young people to eat healthy, not just eat. Proper nutrition entails knowing the value of food, getting rid of frenzied and compulsive consumerism and turning the table into a place of exchange and brotherhood, not just a place for ostentation, waste and whims."

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