Pope on Environment Day: We cannot pretend to be healthy in a world that is sick

9 June 2020
A volunteer collects rubbish on the beach on World Environment Day in Sri Lanka. Image: Vatican News.


On World Environment Day, Pope Francis calls for a change in attitudes, so that we may leave a better and healthier planet to later generations.

World Environment Day is marked annually on 5 June.

The celebrations for this year’s Day, scheduled to take place in Colombia, were held online instead due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In a letter addressed to Colombian President Ivan Duque on Friday, Pope Francis stresses that “the protection of the environment and respect for the biodiversity of the planet are issues that affect us all.”

Healthy in a sick world

“We cannot pretend to be healthy in a world that is sick,” writes the Pope.

“The wounds inflicted on our mother earth are wounds that also bleed in us.” Pope Francis says that caring for ecosystems demands “a view to the future” that is truly concerned for life, rather than “quick and easy profit.”

Pope Francis then warns that our attitude towards the present state of our planet should “make us concerned for and witnesses to the gravity of the situation.”

“We cannot remain silent before the outcry when we realise the very high costs of the destruction and exploitation of the ecosystem,” he adds.

“This is not a time,” the Pope continues, “to continue looking the other way, indifferent to the signs that our planet is being plundered and violated by greed for profit, very often in the name of progress.”

Building a better world

Everything depends on us, says the Pope, stressing that “we have the chance to” commit ourselves to passing a better, healthier world on to future generations.

He then recalls the recent celebrations of the fifth anniversary of his encyclical ‘Laudato Si’. This “drew attention to the cry that mother earth lifts up to us,” he says.

Finally, the Pope expresses his trust that all deliberations and conclusions “will always foster the building of an increasingly habitable world and a more humane society, where all of us have a place and no one is ever left behind.”

With thanks to Vatican News, where this article originally appeared.


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