Pope Francis employed some of his strongest environmental rhetoric to date Friday, insisting the planet earth is “sick,” “wounded,” and “bleeding.”
Writing to the president of Colombia, Iván Duque Márquez, on the occasion of World Environment Day, the pope said that “protection of the environment and respect for the biodiversity of the planet are issues that affect us all.”
“We cannot pretend to be healthy in a world that is sick,” Francis said. “The wounds inflicted on our mother earth are wounds that also bleed in us.”
“Caring for ecosystems demands a look to the future, one that is not concerned only with the immediate moment or that seeks a quick and easy profit, but rather one that is concerned for life and that seeks its preservation for the benefit of all,” he added.
The official celebrations of World Environment Day would have taken place this year in Bogotá, Colombia, but because of ongoing lockdowns because of the coronavirus will be held virtually, he noted.
“Our attitude toward the present state of our planet should indeed make us concerned for and witnesses to the gravity of the situation,” the pontiff stated in his letter. “We cannot remain silent before the outcry when we realize the very high costs of the destruction and exploitation of the ecosystem.”
“This is not a time 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,” he insisted. “We have the chance to reverse course, to commit ourselves to a better, healthier world and to pass it on to future generations.”
“Everything depends on us, if we really want it,” he said.
In his message, the pope also referenced the fifth anniversary of his encyclical letter on the environment, Laudato Sì, “which drew attention to the cry that mother earth lifts up to us.”