Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Pope Francis Urges World to Act Fast on Climate Emergency Pointing to Increase in Extreme Weather

Climate
Pope Francis Urges World to Act Fast on Climate Emergency Pointing to Increase in Extreme Weather
Franco Origlia / Getty Images / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Pope Francis on Sunday — when Hurricane Dorian began pounding the Bahamas with record strength — urged the world to heed calls made by rising youth and indigenous peoples to take swift action to address the climate crisis and thereby ensure "our common future."


"We have caused a climate emergency that gravely threatens nature and life itself, including our own," the pontiff said.

The pope's plea came in his message for the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, an annual celebration he called for in 2015.

In the new message, the pope denounced human exploitation of the environment and pointed to increasingly frequent extreme weather and water scarcity as well as "constant pollution, the continued use of fossil fuels, intensive agricultural exploitation, and deforestation [that] are causing global temperatures to rise above safe levels."

"In this ecological crisis affecting everyone," the pope continued, "we should also feel close to all other men and women of good will, called to promote stewardship of the network of life of which we are part."

The appeals for action — including ditching fossil fuels — were addressed at individuals and political leaders. He wrote:

It is also a season to reflect on our lifestyles, and how our daily decisions about food, consumption, transportation, use of water, energy, and many other material goods, can often be thoughtless and harmful. Too many of us act like tyrants with regard to creation. Let us make an effort to change and to adopt more simple and respectful lifestyles! Now is the time to abandon our dependence on fossil fuels and move, quickly and decisively, towards forms of clean energy and a sustainable and circular economy. Let us also learn to listen to indigenous peoples, whose age-old wisdom can teach us how to live in a better relationship with the environment.

While the pope didn't mention by name the Fridays for Future and School Strike for Climate movement, he made note of the young people "calling for courageous decisions." He said they remind all that Earth is "an inheritance to be handed down" and, in a possible reference to teen activist Greta Thunberg, said that "hope for tomorrow is not a noble sentiment, but a task calling for concrete actions here and now."

Addressing political leaders, he said, "Let us say 'no' to consumerist greed and to the illusion of omnipotence, for these are the ways of death." Instead, said Pope Francis, leaders should undertake "farsighted processes involving responsible sacrifices today for the sake of sure prospects for life tomorrow."

"Let us not give in to the perverse logic of quick profit," he said, "but look instead to our common future!"

The upcoming U.N. climate action summit later this month, the pope added, is an opportunity "to respond to the cry of the poor and of our earth."

The call for decisive action came as Hurricane Dorian unleashed devastation on a climate-changed planet.

"No hurricane in Atlantic history has ever rapidly intensified from a high-end Category 4 to a high-end Category 5," meteorologist Eric Holthaus wrote on Twitter Sunday. "We are in a climate emergency."


In a Monday morning advisory, the National Hurricane Center said that Dorian was "sitting over Grand Bahama Island with extremely dangerous winds and surge."

"For Grand Bahama," said disasterologist Samantha Montano, the situation "is about as bad as a hurricane can get."


Dorian is expected to be a threat for several states along the U.S. East Coast as the week continues, and officials in nine Florida counties already issued evacuation orders. Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina also declared states of emergency as the hurricane approaches.

Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.

Four more years will be enough to cement in place Trump's anti-environmental policies and to make sure it's too late to really change course. Enrique Meseguer / Pixabay

By Bill McKibben

To understand the planetary importance of this autumn's presidential election, check the calendar. Voting ends on November 3—and by a fluke of timing, on the morning of November 4 the United States is scheduled to pull out of the Paris Agreement.

President Trump announced that we would abrogate our Paris commitments during a Rose Garden speech in 2017. But under the terms of the accords, it takes three years to formalize the withdrawal. So on Election Day it won't be just Americans watching: The people of the world will see whether the country that has poured more carbon into the atmosphere than any other over the course of history will become the only country that refuses to cooperate in the one international effort to do something about the climate crisis.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A woman marks down her vote on a ballot for the Democratic presidential primary election at a polling place on Super Tuesday, March 3, 2020 in Herndon, Virginia. Samuel Corum / Getty Images

By Oliver Milman

The climate crisis is set to be a significant factor in a U.S. presidential election for the first time, with new polling showing a clear majority of American voters want decisive action to deal with the threats posed by global heating.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A black bear cub climbs a tree at Tongass National Forest in Alaska. sarkophoto / iStock / Getty Images Plus

America's largest national forest, Tongass National Forest in Alaska, will be opened up to logging and road construction after the Trump administration finalizes its plans to open up the forest on Friday, according to The New York Times.

Read More Show Less
Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg protests in front of the Swedish Parliament in Stockholm on September 25, 2020. Jonathan Nackstrand / AFP / Getty Images

By Ruby Russell and Ajit Niranjan

Hamstrung by coronavirus lockdowns, frustrated school strikers have spent months staging digital protests against world leaders failing to act urgently on climate change.

Read More Show Less

This fall brings three new environmental movies. David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet | Official Trailer

This week marks the official start of fall, but longer nights and colder days can make it harder to spend time outdoors. Luckily, there are several inspiring environmental films that can be streamed at home.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch