Climate makes "ecological conversion" urgent, Vatican says

Outspoken Holy See envoy Archbishop Celestino Migliore has told the United Nations that "ecological conversion" is necessary to tackle climate issues and that addressing the "environmental consequences of economic activity" is among the world's "highest priorities".

The archbishop says that 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, according to a Catholic Online report.

"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 added.

He criticised 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."

Noting the world's continued reliance on fossil fuels, Archbishop Migliore called for urgent "serious public investment in clean technology", especially "to diminish as fast as possible the impact of air and sea transport pollution and those sectors' continued use of outdated technology."

Archbishop Migliore also noted that one in six of the world's population is now affected by growing desertification and drought, calling for coordinated international "concrete actions to reverse this alarming phenomenon".

The nuncio also said that the international community needs to do a better job of "governance of water resources".

The world faces a problem not of "the lack of sufficient water for human needs", he said, but rather problems of management, infrastructure, technology and finance.

Vatican envoy calls UN to "ecological conversion" (Catholic World News, 26/10/06)
World called to undergo 'ecological conversion' aimed at sustainability, Vatican says (Catholic Online, 26/10/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Permanent Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations
List of Kyoto Protocal signatories (Wikipedia)
Pope John Paul II, The Ecological Conversion (Catholic Online)

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27 Oct 2006