UNITED NATIONS (Catholic Online) – The world community must address the threat posed by global warming and build more sustainable economies or face the continued drift toward tensions, conflicts and a crisis in the very existence of peoples, the Vatican told the member countries of the United Nations.
In an May 10 statement to the U.N. Economic and Social Council’s Commission on Sustainable Development on “Turning Political Commitments into Action, Working together in Partnership,” Archbishop Celestino Migliore, apostolic nuncio of the Holy See’s permanent mission to the U.N., stressed that the scientific evidence for global warming and mankind’s role in the increase of greenhouse gasses “becomes ever more unimpeachable” and its effects already impacting the world community.
“The consequences of climate change are being felt not only in the environment, but in the entire socio-economic system, Archbishop Migliore said, noting that “such activity has a profound relevance, not just for the environment, but in ethical, economic, social and political terms as well.”
Global warming, he said, “will impact first and foremost the poorest and weakest who, even if they are among the least responsible for global warming, are the most vulnerable because they have limited resources or live in areas at greater risk.”
The issues surrounding climate change are far-reaching, the Vatican nuncio said, pointing to the connection between it and the drive to acquire and consume energy and water resources and protecting human health and the environment.
“The earth is our common heritage and we have a grave and far-reaching responsibility to ourselves and to future generations,” he said.
The international community, Archbishop Migliore said, must come to terms to establish a “common, global, long-term energy strategy, capable of satisfying legitimate short- and medium-term energy requirements, ensuring energy security, protecting human health and the environment and establishing precise commitments to address the question of climate change.”
The nuncio spoke with some urgency, noting that the U.N. Security Council recently dealt with the relationship of energy, security and climate change.
“We are already witnessing struggles for the control of strategic resources such as oil and fresh water, both of which are becoming ever scarcer,” he said.
“If we refuse to build sustainable economies now, we will continue to drift towards more tensions and conflicts over resources,” Archbishop Migliore warned, pointing to “many of the most vulnerable societies already facing energy problems” “and to the threatened “very existence of coastal peoples and small island states.”
To meet the “double challenge” of climate change and the need for “ever greater energy resources, the nuncio called for the world community to embrace more sustainable development in which there is a much closer link between “natural ecology, or respect for nature, and human ecology.”
“We will have to change our present model from one of the heedless pursuit of economic growth in the name of development, towards a model which heeds the consequences of its actions and is more respectful towards the creation we hold in common, coupled with an integral human development for present and future generations,” he said.
“Experience shows that disregard for the environment harms human coexistence,” the archbishop said, adding that the international community must make the connection between making “peace with creation and peace among nations.”
He stressed the importance of technology and education to build a more sustainable economy.
“Economic growth does not have to mean greater consumption,” Archbishop Migliore said. “It does however mean that we will need technology, ingenuity, determined political will and common sense.”
He added that it will also mean the transference of technology to developing countries “to the benefit of the entire global community.”
But beyond the development of technology and the “political will” to collaborate internationally, education at the level of each nation is required to ensure that the mankind “approach our daily patterns of consumption and production in a very different way.”
“Through such education, states can help their citizens grasp the urgency of what must be done, teaching them in turn to expect and demand a very different approach to their own consumption and that around them,” he said.
He noted that “we cannot simply uninvent the modern world,” but that there is the chance to remedy the “worldwide, unprecedented ecological changes” already taking place.
“None of us can foresee fully the consequences of man’s industrial activity over the recent centuries,” he noted. “But there is still time to use technology and education to promote universally sustainable development before it is too late.
Archbishop Migliore addressed the issue of sustainable development and global climate change before the U.N. General Assembly last fall, noting that the world needs to undergo an “ecological conversion” or face the consequences of the global life support systems being irreparably destroyed.
He stressed that the international economy is directly connected to global environmental health and that time is running out to make the systemic changes needed.
“The environmental consequences of our economic activity are now among the world’s highest priorities,” Archbishop Migliore said.
The world’s “economy continues to rest basically upon its relation to nature,” and in particular to its impact on the earth’s soil, water and climate, the archbishop said.
“It is becoming rapidly ever clearer that if these, the world’s life support systems, are spoiled or destroyed irreparably, there will be no viable economy for any of us,” the apostolic nuncio said.
He criticized the tendency of national policy makers to view ecological issues as “external or marginal” to economic considerations.
“Environmental concerns have to be understood,” the archbishop said, “as the basis upon which all economic – and even human – activity rests.”
“The environmental question is not only an important ethical and scientific problem,” he said, but one that impacts political, economic, security strategy, developmental and humanitarian issues at regional, national and international levels.
“In a word, the world needs an ecological conversion so as to examine critically current models of thought, as well as those of production and consumption,” Archbishop Migliore said.
While acknowledging that the international community has placed greater emphasis on developing renewable energy sources, clean technologies and sustainable development strategies into policy-making, the nuncio stressed that all nations “must do much more to stop and reverse current trends in consumption and pollution.”
Pope Benedict XVI addressed the issue two months later in his World Peace Day 2007 message.
In the wide-ranging "The Human Person, the Heart of Peace," dated Jan. 1 and released Dec. 8, Benedict tied “the ecology of nature” with “human ecology” and “social ecology,” noting the “inseparable link between peace with creation and peace among men.”
“Disregard for the environment always harms human coexistence,” the pope said. “There is an inseparable link between peace with creation and peace among men.”
Concerning the environment, he pointed specifically to “the increasingly serious problem of energy supplies” and to the “unprecedented race for available resources” by some nations and blockage to resources impacting the development of other nations.
“The destruction of the environment, its improper or selfish use, and the violent hoarding of the earth's resources cause grievances, conflicts and wars, precisely because they are the consequences of an inhumane concept of development,” the pope said.
“Indeed, if development were limited to the technical-economic aspect, obscuring the moral-religious dimension, it would not be an integral human development, but a one-sided distortion which would end up by unleashing man's destructive capacities,” he said.
© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2014
Respect for Women:
That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
That many young people may accept the Lord’s invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel.