The catastrophic effects of climate change hold us accountable before God.
Pope Francis stressed this on Monday in the Vatican as he addressed participants in and organisers of the Green&Blue Festival, coinciding with World Environment Day, today, 5 June 2023, as he appealed for recognising our shared responsibility to take concrete action to protect the planet.
With events scheduled today in Rome, and from 6 – 8 June in Milan, the festival brings together Italian and international players who are united in their commitment to urgently combat climate change.
During the audience, the Pope encouraged them in their commitment to protect the environment. He also drew attention to the ever-more violent natural disasters devastating the globe, as he urged the International Community, and all people of good will, to do their part in safeguarding our Common Home.
“Experts clearly point out how the choices and actions put in place this decade will have an impact for thousands of years. Our knowledge about the impact of our actions on our Common Home and those who inhabit it, and will inhabit it, has expanded.”
“This,” the Pope insisted, “has also increased our sense of responsibility before God, Who has entrusted us with the care of creation, before our neighbours and before future generations.”
While the humanity of the post-industrial period, he recalled, “may be remembered as one of the most irresponsible in history,” it is, he added, “to be hoped that the humanity of the early 21st Century may be remembered for generously assuming its grave responsibilities.”
The phenomenon of climate change, the Holy Father said, reminds us insistently of our responsibilities, especially to the poorest and most fragile, who contribute the least to the phenomenon, but suffer from it the most.
“It is necessary today,” the Pope urged, “for the entire international community to put as a priority the implementation of collegial, solidarity-based and forward-looking actions,” recognising “the magnitude, urgency and beauty of the challenge before us.”
Pope Francis recognised that it is a great and demanding challenge “because it requires a change of course, a decisive change in the current model of consumption and production,” too often fed by a throwaway culture, full of indifference.
“Moreover, as indicated by many in the scientific world, changing this model is ‘urgent’ and can no longer be postponed.”
The Pope called for educating ourselves in how to protect the planet, and how that in turn, can transform society. He applauded various opportunities and initiatives aimed at seriously addressing this challenge, as he highlighted the need for a shared commitment at all levels, “from small everyday choices to local policies, to international ones.”
The Holy Father acknowledged the often, added expense, and sacrifice required, in order to properly protect the environment, and applauded those who keep in mind the greater picture, for the future of mankind.
“It is necessary to accelerate this change of course in favour of a culture of care,” he said, where caring for human dignity and the common good, are at the centre.
Pope Francis concluded by thanking them for all they do to protect the environment.
“Let us not rob the new generations of hope in a better future,” he said.
This national event for the environment will be held over four days in unique locations. The festival, which “aims to not only highlight the urgent need to tackle climate change but also emphasise the immense opportunities presented by the necessary transformation,” will feature a line-up of distinguished guests, talks, and music performances to foster an atmosphere of collaboration, inspiration, and celebration.