VIDEO MESSAGE FROM THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS
TO PARTICIPANTS IN THE "COUNTDOWN",
TED DIGITAL EVENT ON CLIMATE CHANGE
We are living in a historical moment marked by difficult challenges. The world is shaken by the crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, which highlights even more another global challenge: the socio-environmental crisis.
This confronts us all with the need for a choice.
The choice between what matters and what doesn't. The choice between continuing to ignore the sufferings of the poorest and mistreating our common home, the Earth, or engaging at every level to transform the way we act.
Science tells us, more precisely every day, that urgent action is needed - and I am not exaggerating, science says so - if we are to have any hope of avoiding radical and catastrophic climate change. And for this, act urgently. This is a scientific fact.
Conscience tells us that we cannot be indifferent to the suffering of the poorest, to growing economic inequalities and social injustices. And the economy itself cannot be limited to production and distribution. It must necessarily consider its impact on the environment and the dignity of the person. We could say that the economy must be creative in itself, in its methods, in the way of acting. Creativity.
I would like to invite you to go on a journey together. A journey of transformation and action. Made not so much of words, but above all of concrete and urgent actions.
I call it a "journey", because it requires a "shift", a change! From this crisis none of us must come out the same - we cannot come out the same: from a crisis, we never come out the same -; and it will take time and effort to get out. It will be necessary to go step by step, to help the weak, to persuade the doubters, to imagine new solutions and to commit to carrying them out.
But the goal is clear: to build, in the next decade, a world where we can respond to the needs of present generations, including everyone, without compromising the possibilities of future generations.
I would like to invite all people of faith, Christian or not, and all people of good will, to undertake this journey, [starting] from his faith or, if he has no faith, from his will, from his own good will. Each and every one of us, as individuals and members of groups - families, faith communities, businesses, associations, institutions - can make a significant contribution.
Five years ago I wrote the encyclical letter Laudato si ', dedicated to the care of our common home. It proposes the concept of "integral ecology", to respond together to the cry of the earth but also to the cry of the poor. Integral ecology is an invitation to an integral vision of life, starting from the conviction that everything in the world is connected and that, as the pandemic reminded us, we are interdependent on each other, and also dependent on our mother earth. From this vision derives the need to look for other ways of understanding progress and measuring it, without limiting ourselves to the economic, technological, financial and gross product dimensions, but giving central importance to the ethical-social and educational dimensions.
Today I would like to propose three courses of action.
As I wrote in Laudato si ' , the change and the right orientation for the journey of integral ecology requires, first of all, to take an educational step (cf. n. 202 ). So the first proposal is to promote, at every level, an education in the care of the common home , developing the understanding that environmental problems are linked to human needs - we must understand this from the beginning: environmental problems are linked to human needs - ; an education based on scientific data and an ethical approach. This is important: both. I am heartened by the fact that many young people already have a new ecological and social sensitivity, and some of them are fighting generously for the defense of the environment and for justice.
As a second proposal, we must then put the emphasis on water and nutrition . Access to safe and safe water is an essential and universal human right. It is essential, because it determines the survival of people and for this reason it is a condition for the exercise of all other rights and responsibilities. Ensuring adequate nutrition for all through non-destructive farming methods should then become the fundamental purpose of the entire cycle of production and distribution of food.
The third proposal is that of the energy transition: a gradual, but immediate, replacement of fossil fuels with clean energy sources. We have a few years, scientists estimate roughly less than thirty - we have a few years, less than thirty - to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. This transition must not only be rapid and capable of meeting present and future energy needs, but it must also be attentive to the impacts on the poor, local populations and those working in the energy production sectors.
One way to encourage this change is to lead companies towards the urgent need to commit themselves to the integral care of the common home, excluding from investments those companies that do not meet the parameters of integral ecology and rewarding those who concretely work in this phase. of transition to place parameters such as sustainability, social justice and the promotion of the common good at the center of their activities. Many Catholic organizations and other faiths have already taken on the responsibility to work in this direction. In fact, the land must be worked and cared for, cultivated and protected; we can't keep squeezing it like an orange. And we can say that this, taking care of the earth, is a human right.
These three proposals must be understood as part of a large set of actions that we must carry out in an integrated way to arrive at a lasting solution to the problems.
The current economic system is unsustainable. We are faced with the moral imperative, and the practical urgency, to rethink many things: how we produce, how we consume, think about our culture of waste, the short-term vision, the exploitation of the poor, the indifference towards them, increasing inequalities and dependence on harmful energy sources. All challenges. We have to think about it.
Integral ecology suggests a new conception of the relationship between us and with nature. This leads to a new economy, in which the production of wealth is directed towards the integral well-being of the human being and the improvement - not the destruction - of our common home. It also means a renewed policy, conceived as one of the highest forms of charity. Yes, love is interpersonal, but love is also political. It involves all peoples and involves nature.
Therefore, I invite you all to undertake this journey. So I proposed it in Laudato si ' and also in the new Encyclical Fratelli tutti . As the term "Countdown" suggests, we must act urgently. Each of us can play a valuable role if we all set out on the road today. Not tomorrow, today. Because the future is being built today, and is being built not alone, but in community and in harmony.
* Bulletin of the Holy See Press Office , 10 October 2020