06/05/2021, 11.30
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Pope: We have little time left to restore the nature we have destroyed

Francis releases message to mark World Environment Day. Today's celebration, however, “will have a special significance, as it will take place in the year in which the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration begins". Integral ecology to establish "harmony within us, with others, with nature and other living creatures, and with God".

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "We have little time left" to become a "generation of Restoration" and "restore the nature we have damaged". Pope Francis issued a strong warning in his message to Inger Andersen, United Nations program for the environment (UNEP) executive director and to Qn Dongy, director general of FAO on the occasion of today's World Environment Day.

"We have little time left - writes Francis – scientists say the next ten years, the span of this UN Decade – to restore the ecosystem, which will mean the integral restoration of our relation with nature."

World Environment Day, the Pope adds, recalling what is written about Laudato Sì, “encourages us to remember that everything is interconnected. A true «concern for the environment […] needs to be joined to a sincere love for our fellow human beings and an unwavering commitment to resolving the problems of society”. Today’s celebration, however, “will have a special significance, as it will take place in the year in which the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration begins. This decade invites us to make ten-year commitments aimed at caring for our common home by «supporting and scaling up efforts to prevent, halt and reverse the degradation of ecosystems worldwide and raise awareness of the importance of successful ecosystem restoration."

“The current environmental situation calls us to act now with urgency to become ever more responsible stewards of creation and to restore the nature that we have been damaging and exploiting for too long. Otherwise, we risk destroying the very basis on which we depend. We risk floods, and hunger and severe consequences for ourselves and for future generations. This is what many scientists tell us. We need to take care of each other, and of the weakest among us. Continuing down this path of exploitation and destruction – of humans, and of nature – is unjust and unwise. This is what a responsible conscience would tell us. We have a responsibility to leave a habitable common home for our children and for future generations.”

It is therefore necessary to act "urgently" to become increasingly responsible administrators also towards future generations: we are all part of the "gift of creation" as the Bible also recalls. Looking around, one sees in fact a crisis that leads to crisis, the destruction of nature, "a global pandemic that is causing the death of millions of people". But also the unjust consequences of some aspects of our current economic systems and of numerous catastrophic climatic crises “which produce serious effects on human societies and even the mass extinction of various species”. There are "many" "warnings" that push to take urgent measures. Among these we can note "Covid-19 and global warming".

Hence the hope that the COP26 on climate change, to be held in Glasgow next November, will offer the right answers. Another important front on which to intervene is precisely that of economic systems. We need a review of the current development model, emphasizing the key point that "the degradation of the ecosystem is a clear result of an economic dysfunction".

Despite the concern, however, there is hope. Technology can be directed towards healthier progress. " We are witnessing new engagement and commitment by several States and non-Governmental actors: local authorities, the private sector, civil society, youth … efforts aimed at promoting what we can call “integral ecology”, which is a complex and multidimensional concept: it calls for long-term vision; it highlights the inseparability of «concern for nature, justice for the poor, commitment to society and interior peace”;[5] it is aimed at restoring «the various levels of ecological equilibrium, establishing harmony within ourselves, with others, with nature and other living creatures, and with God”.[6] It makes each of us aware of our responsibility as human beings, towards ourselves, towards our neighbour, towards creation and towards the Creator.”

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