Pope Francis, the head of the Catholic church, made a religious case for acting against climate change in front of a large crowd that had gathered in Rome on Wednesday.
In a short address, the pope talked about the biblical story of creation, as it is told in the book of Genesis, and of “the beauty of nature and the grandeur of the cosmos”.
Then, he spoke of “the risk of considering ourselves masters of creation”.
“Creation is not a property, which we can rule over at will, or, even less, is the property of only a few. Creation is a gift,” he said.
He went on to suggest that destruction of the natural world is a sin, saying, “We are custodians of creation. But when we exploit creation we destroy the sign of God’s love for us.
“Safeguard creation, because if we destroy creation, creation will destroy us! Never forget this!”
The pope’s address followed a Vatican summit on sustainability that met earlier this month. The five-day event brought together leading experts – including scientists, economists and philosophers – to discuss how the church can address unsustainability around the world.
In a joint statement published after the conclusion of the summit, attendees said, “Our message is one of urgent warning, for the dangers of the Anthropocene are real and the injustice of globalization of indifference is serious. Yet our message is also one of hope and joy.
“A healthier, safer, more just, more prosperous, and sustainable world is within reach.”
Photo: Gabriel Andrés Trujillo Escobedo via Flickr