Earth Day: Pope says COVID-19 and climate change show the time to act is running out
Francis released a video message on the day of the climate summit. He urges leaders to “act boldly, conduct themselves with justice and always tell people the truth, so that they know how to protect themselves from the destruction of the planet, [and] how to protect the planet from the destruction that we very often cause.”
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis issued an appeal “to all world leaders” to intervene to protect our world amid the pandemic and climate crisis, which are “global catastrophes”.
In a video message on Earth Day, the pontiff called on leaders to “act boldly, conduct themselves with justice and always tell people the truth, so that they know how to protect themselves from the destruction of the planet, [and] how to protect the planet from the destruction that we very often cause.”
In his encyclical Laudato si', Francis called for an alliance between humanity and the environment focusing on the concept of “integral ecology. In his address, he mentioned today’s virtual climate summit, an initiative of US President Joe Biden, with 40 world leaders, including China's Xi Jinping, urging them to reflect on the “harm” that could befall nature and human interdependence.
“For a while, we have become more aware that nature deserves to be protected, if for no other reason than the fact that human interactions with God’s biodiversity must occur with the utmost care and respect: taking care of biodiversity; taking care of nature”
“We learnt more of this in this pandemic. This pandemic has also shown us what happens when the world stops, pauses, albeit for a few months. And the impact it has on nature and climate change, with force, in a sadly positive way, right? In other words, it hurts.
“This shows us that global nature needs our lives on this planet. It involves us all, albeit in many different and unequivocal forms; it teaches us even more about what we need to do to create a just, fair, environmentally safe planet.”
“In short, the COVID pandemic has taught us about interdependence, sharing the planet. Both global disasters, COVID and climate, show that we no longer have time to wait. Time is pressing. As COVID-19 taught us, we have the means to meet the challenge. We have the means. It is time to act, we're on the edge. Let me repeat an ancient Spanish saying: 'God always forgives, we men forgive from time to time, nature no longer forgives'.”
When nature’s destruction begins, it is very difficult to stop it. But there's still time. We'll be more resilient if we work together instead of doing it alone.
“The adversity that we are experiencing with the pandemic, and that we already feel with climate change, must spur us on, it must push us to innovate, to invent, to look for new paths. We do not come out of a crisis the same, we come out better or worse. That is the challenge, and if we do not come out better, we will walk along a path of self-destruction.
“I too join you in calling on all the world's leaders to act boldly, conduct themselves with justice and always tell people the truth, so that they know how to protect themselves from the destruction of the planet,[and] how to protect the planet from the destruction that we very often cause. Thank you for what you do, thank you for your good intentions, thank you for meeting.”
On his tweeter account, @pontifex, Francis also wrote: “We have broken the bonds of our relationship with the Creator, with our fellow human beings, and with the rest of creation. We need to heal the damaged relationships that are essential to supporting us and the entire fabric of life.”