The Pope: restoring damaged nature means restoring ourselves

For the launch, today, of the United Nations Decade on ecosystem restoration, Francis addresses a Message to the UN, read in a video by Cardinal Parolin: the degradation “is a clear result of an economic dysfunction”

Debora Donnini – Vatican City

With creativity and courage we make sure that we become a “generation of the Restoration”. “Restoring the nature that we have damaged”, in fact, means first of all, recovering “ourselves”. This is the Pope’s exhortation addressed in a Message read in English, in a video, by the Cardinal Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin, and addressed to Inger Andersen, executive director of UNEP, the United Nations Environment Program, and to Qn Dongy, FAO Director-General. The gaze is directed to the World Environment Day, which occurs tomorrow. A special celebration, because it takes place in the year in which the United Nations Decade on ecosystem restoration begins.

Shortly, do not continue with destruction

“We have little time – scientists say the next ten years, the time frame of this United Nations Decade – to restore the ecosystem”. Hence the importance of making ten-year commitments by intensifying efforts to reverse the degradation of ecosystems, which have been exploited for too long. “We risk floods, hunger and serious consequences for ourselves and for future generations” and, therefore, it is necessary “to take care of each other and of the weakest among us”. “Unjust and reckless”, however, continue on the path of the destruction of man and nature. “This would tell us a responsible conscience”, the Pope emphasizes again in the Message.

Responsible towards future generations

It is therefore necessary to act “urgently” to become increasingly responsible administrators also towards future generations: we are all part of the “gift of creation” as the Bible also recalls. Precisely this interconnection with the reference to integral ecology is the common thread of the Message of Francis, in which reference is made several times to Praised.

Lots of warnings

Looking around, one sees in fact a crisis that leads to crisis, the destruction of nature, “a global pandemic that is causing the death of millions of people”. But also the unjust consequences of some aspects of our current economic systems and of numerous catastrophic climatic crises “which produce serious effects on human societies and even the mass extinction of various species”. There are “many”, therefore, the “warnings” that push to take urgent measures. Among these we can note “Covid-19 and global warming”. In concrete terms, therefore, the hope is expressed that the COP26 on climate change, to be held in Glasgow next November, can offer the right answers. Another important front on which to intervene is precisely that of economic systems. We need a review of the current development model, underlining the key point that “ecosystem degradation is a clear result of an economic dysfunction”.

Hope from renewed commitment

Despite the concern, however, there is hope. Technology can be directed towards healthier progress. There is also a new commitment on the part of states, authorities and civil society, aimed at promoting integral ecology. Key word, “multidimensional” concept, which “requires a long-term vision”, also highlighting the inseparability between “concern for natural justice for the poor, commitment to society and inner peace”, is also noted in the Message in which the Pope calls upon everyone to be responsible for themselves, our neighbor, creation and the Creator.

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