Pope Francis called for “a new ecological approach” to the environment even as he decried the “predatory attitude” that people have toward the planet.
In a video message on Tuesday, May 25, the pontiff called for an end to the thinking that “makes us feel that we are masters of the planet and its resources.”
He said the same attitude “authorizes us to make irresponsible use of the goods God has given us.”
The Vatican launched on Tuesday the new Laudato si’ Action Platform to mark the end of the Laudato si’ Year anniversary celebration.
The pope reminded the faithful of the call “to take care of the Earth, which is our common home,” in his 2015 encyclical on the environment, Laudato si’.
In his message, he said stressed that the “house that hosts us” has been suffering for a long time from “the wounds that we cause by our predatory attitude.”
The pope said the current pandemic has brought to light “in an even stronger way” the “cry of nature and that of the poor who suffer most the consequences.”
He again stressed that “everything is interconnected and interdependent and that our health is not separated from the health of the environment in which we live.”
Pope Francis said “a new ecological approach” is needed to “transform our way of dwelling in the world, our styles of life, our relationship with the resources of the Earth and, in general, our way of looking at humanity and of living life.”
“What world do we want to leave to our children and our young? Our selfishness, our indifference and our irresponsible ways are threatening the future of our children,” he said.
The pontiff renewed his appeal to “take care of our mother Earth” and to “overcome the temptation of selfishness that makes us predators of resources.”
“Let us cultivate respect for the gifts of the Earth and creation; let us inaugurate a lifestyle and a society that is finally eco-sustainable,” he said, adding that “we have the opportunity to prepare a better tomorrow for all.”
In his video message, the pope said the Laudato si’ Action Platform would be “a seven-year journey that will see our communities committed in different ways to becoming totally sustainable, in the spirit of integral ecology.”
He invited all Catholic institutions — from families to universities to businesses — to practice an environmentally sustainable life in the next seven years.
The initiative will have focus groups including families, parishes and diocese, schools and universities, hospitals and other health care facilities, businesses, lay Catholic organizations, and orders of priests and nuns.
Since Laudato si’ (Praised be) was published in 2015, the Vatican and Catholic groups in the 1.3-billion-member Church around the world have taken many initiatives to reduce their carbon footprint.
The Vatican, the world’s smallest state, has nearly eliminated single-use plastic, recycles most of its trash and makes its own compost for its gardens.
Pope Francis strongly supports the goals of the 2015 UN Paris accord to reduce global warming.
“These wounds (to the planet) manifest themselves dramatically in an ecological crisis without precedent, which affects the ground, the air, water and, in general, the ecosystem in which human beings live,” he said in his message.
Cardinal Peter Turkson, head of the Vatican’s development office, said the pope will likely attend the United Nations’ Climate Change Conference (COP26) in November in Glasgow, Scotland.