Pope Calls For a More Habitable and Humane Society on World Environment Day

Urging global solidarity aimed at respecting and protecting the planet’s biodiversity, Pope Francis addressed a letter to Colombian President Ivan Duque in celebration of World Environment Day June 5.

Tropical rain forest
(Photo by quick shot, Shutterstock.com)
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“We cannot pretend to be healthy in a world that is sick,” Vatican News quoted the pontiff as saying in his letter. “The wounds inflicted on our mother earth are wounds that also bleed in us.”

Celebrations for this year’s World Environment Day were held in Colombia. The annual event was celebrated online because of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Caring for the world’s threatened ecosystems, Pope Francis stated in his letter, requires “a view to the future” that is dedicated to a concern for planetary life instead of “quick and easy profit.”

The general public attitude toward the planet’s ecological state ought to “make us concerned for and witness to the gravity of the situation,” Francis wrote, adding: “We cannot remain silent before the outcry when we realize the very high costs of the destruction and exploitation of the ecosystem.”

“This is not a time,” the Pope wrote, “to continue looking the other way, indifferent to the signs that our planet is being plundered and violated by greed and profit, very often in the name or progress.”

Francis recalled the recent May 24 celebrations marking the fifth anniversary of his encyclical, “Laudato Si,” a Latin phrase, addressed to God, which means, “Praise be to You, my Lord.”

In the document, he wrote about caring for the planet we all share. “[A] true ecological approach always becomes a social approach,” the Pope wrote in the document, adding that “it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor.

“We have the chance” to commit ourselves to leaving an improved and healthier world for future generations, the Pope wrote in his letter to the Colombian President.

In an online conference organized by Scholas Occurentes, a papal foundation with a global reach that he created to focus on education, Francis joined religious leaders and nine first ladies from Latin America and the Caribbean to call attention to the importance of environmental education.

“Education listens, or it doesn’t educate,” the Pope said in the online forum. “If you don’t listen, you don’t educate.”

Education, he added, “creates culture, or it doesn’t educate.” It “teaches us to celebrate, or it doesn’t educate.”


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