IN the much-anticipated publication of Pope Francis' Encyclical Laudato si his Holiness warns of “serious consequences” if the world does not act on climate change.
The 180-page document asked the question, “What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up?” , to which the leader of the Catholic Church responded “We may well be leaving to coming generations debris, desolation and filth."
He added: “The pace of consumption, waste and environmental change has so stretched the planet’s capacity that our contemporary lifestyle, unsustainable as it is, can only precipitate catastrophes, such as those which even now periodically occur in different areas of the world. The effects of the present imbalance can only be reduced by our decisive action, here and now."
Here are five other environmental nuggets from the hard-hitting papal document, which criticises centuries of exploitation by mankind for leaving the earth “crying out with pain”:
1 We must phase out our reliance on hydrocarbons — the Pope prefers renewable power, wind and solar, to our use of coal and oil
“We know that technology based on the use of highly polluting fossil fuels – especially coal, but also oil and, to a lesser degree, gas – needs to be progressively replaced without delay.”
2 UN climate talks have largely been useless
“It is remarkable how weak international political responses have been. The failure of global summits on the environment make it plain that our politics are subject to technology and finance.”
3 National governments and leaders of international institutions have to play their part
They must be “courageous in adopting strict measures to slow and reverse global warming, protect the rain forests and ensure the availability of clean water for all”.
4 Overpopulation is not a problem - over-consumption is
“To blame population growth instead of extreme and selective consumerism on the part of some, is one way of refusing to face the issues.”
5 Social media and smartphones aren’t helping matters
“Real relationships with others, with all the challenges they entail, now tend to be replaced by a type of internet communication which enables us to choose or eliminate relationships at whim, thus giving rise to a new type of contrived emotion which has more to do with devices and displays than with other people and with nature.”