Pope Francis added his voice to the #JoinTheCountdown campaign that is working for a carbon-free world. In an Oct. 10, 2020 video address from the Vatican, he said that we have a moral imperative to act on climate change and offered three steps we can take.
In a TED talk for the global launch of Countdown, an initiative to accelerate solutions to climate change, Pope Francis explained that we all face a problem right now that is even larger than the pandemic: the socio-environmental crisis. “And this requires us — all of us — to face a choice,” he said. “The choice between what matters, and what doesn’t. The choice between continuing to ignore the suffering of the poorest and to abuse our common home, our planet, or engaging at every level to transform the way we act.”
The pope endorsed the Countdown goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions in half over the next decade, and made the case that this work can be done out of a faith conviction — “or if you do not have a faith, from your own intention, from your own goodwill.”
The pope proposed a new and creative vision for the economy — one that is not only ordered to the production of goods, but also has in mind the impacts on the environment and the dignity of people. His vision coalesced around three pillars:
- Education: To promote, at every level, an education geared towards the care of our common home, developing the understanding that environmental problems are linked to human needs.
- Water and nutrition: Access to safe and drinkable water is an essential and universal human right. Providing adequate nutrition for all, through non-destructive farming methods, should become the main purpose of the entire cycle of food production and distribution.
- Energy transition: A gradual replacement, but without delay, of fossil fuels with clean energy sources. Not only must this transition be quick and capable of meeting present and future energy needs, it must also be attentive to the impact on the poor, on local populations, as well as on those who work in the energy production sectors.
“The Earth must be worked and nursed, cultivated and protected,” Pope Francis said. “We cannot continue to squeeze it like an orange.”