Sunday 6 August 2017

Torreciudad declaration

I've just read the "Torreciudad declaration" for the future of the world inspired by Pope Francis. Here's an abbreviated version - well worth reading:

1. The vast majority of people living on our planet believe in the importance  of spiritual and religious
traditions in their daily lives. Abbreviated text of the “Torreciudad declaration”
1. The vast majority of people living on our planet believe in the importance of spiritual and religious traditions in their daily lives. These provide a source of inspiration and moral values, as well as a cosmological vision of who we are in relation to the Divine, the Earth, and our fellow humans. This should spur religions to dialogue among themselves for protecting nature, defending the poor, and building networks of respect and fraternity... 
2. Science plays a critical role in understanding environmental problems, monitoring trends, and projecting future outcomes. Environmental degradation is global, both in terms of the areas and the subjects affected. Climate change, ocean acidification, water and air pollution, biodiversity and habitat loss, and many other problems have to be tackled by integrating many different disciplines within the natural and social sciences and the humanities. Close cooperation among the key disciplinary fields is required. 
3. Science alone cannot solve the current ecological crisis. Stronger cooperation is needed with all actors including political bodies, non-government organizations, and corporations. Religious and spiritual traditions are the oldest source of moral values, wisdom and inspiration. They inspire us to live in justice, peace and harmony. Spiritual and cultural values enable us to avoid overconsumption, which leads to environmental degradation.  A closer cooperation between scientists and religious leaders in promoting environmental awareness and action is required.
4. Religious and spiritual communities have a prominent role in education worldwide, particularly of young people. Therefore, of all faiths advocate an “ecological conversion” from our unsustainable lifestyles. The required radical changes entail not just giving more attention to environmental issues or making a superficial reduction to our consumption patterns. They imply “a distinctive way of looking at things, a way of thinking, policies, an educational programme, a lifestyle and a spirituality which together generate resistance to the assault of the technocratic paradigm” (Laudato si’, §111). Religious institutions should be more actively engaged in being responsible custodians of the Earth, instead of her destroyers.
5. The severity of environmental problems and their trends poses a serious risk to the habitability of our planet. We are responsible for recent climate change, due to our intensive use of fossil fuels, with potentially catastrophic impacts on natural systems and society. We are causing massive extinctions of species, most of them unknown and forever lost to us and to our descendants. We are polluting air and waters, disrupting ecosystems, cutting down forests, destroying fertile soils, and squandering resources. As a result, the most vulnerable people, in particular the poor, marginalized, and excluded, are already severely suffering the consequences. Environmental and social problems often have the same roots and they should be tackled simultaneously: “Strategies for a solution demand an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the excluded, and at the same time protecting nature” (Laudato si’, §139). 
6. We urgently need to reverse the most threatening trends in environmental degradation. We need to encourage a new model of progress that integrates human and natural ecology and promotes clean energies and sustainable economies. We need to find creative ways of living that concentrate on essential values instead of leading us to absurd consumerism (less is more); we need a realistic and hopeful way of thinking that makes our lives happier, while encouraging care for other humans and for other living beings and habitats. We need Science and Religion working together to make this necessary change happen. 

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