In May, Pope Francis called for people to repent for their “ecological sins” and end the pollution that is damaging Earth’s climate, Reuters reported.
On Sept. 1, the Catholic Church celebrates its World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation. Before then, it’s traditional for the Pope to release a message tied to the event. This year’s message was presented on May 25 and can be found on the Vatican website.
In that message, Pope Francis was clear that the current state of the environment is wrong and unjust.
“Let us heed our call to stand with the victims of environmental and climate injustice, and to put an end to the senseless war against creation,” he said.
“The unrestrained burning of fossil fuels and the destruction of forests are pushing temperatures higher and leading to massive droughts,” he said, adding that water shortages are damaging both rural areas and large cities.
“Moreover, predatory industries are depleting and polluting our freshwater sources through extreme practices such as fracking for oil and gas extraction, unchecked mega-mining projects, and intensive animal farming,” he added.
Pope Francis pointed out steps that both individuals and governments would need to take to restore the world’s climate.
To individuals, he said, “Let us adopt lifestyles marked by less waste and unnecessary consumption, especially where the processes of production are toxic and unsustainable.”
He also encouraged “positive choices,” including “using resources with moderation and a joyful sobriety, disposing and recycling waste, and making greater use of available products and services that are environmentally and socially responsible.”
His call to action for politicians was even more specific.
“The world leaders who will gather for the COP28 summit in Dubai from [November 30 to December 12] next must listen to science and institute a rapid and equitable transition to end the era of fossil fuel,” he said.
Pope Francis then pointed out that to abide by the terms of the Paris Agreement — an international treaty adopted to stop the world from getting any hotter — it makes no sense to keep expanding the oil and gas industries, which produce heat-trapping air pollution.
The worldwide influence of the Catholic Church means this message could have a far-reaching impact, benefiting the environment on a large scale.
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