The Pope and the Environment

In this last year the Vatican and Benedict XVI have been increasing their advocacy on behalf of the environment. On Sept 2, 2007 the Pope called on people to make “courageous decisions” on the future of the planet at an address to 300,000 Roman Catholics at an environment festival in
Loreto, Italy. We need a decisive ‘yes’ to care for creation and a strong commitment to reverse those trends that risk making the situation of decay irreversible,” he stated. 

Surprisingly, or maybe not so surprising, there is a great furor in Austria about five small trees that were planted at the time of John Paul II’s visit to Austria ten years ago. The trees were cut to build the public platform for an outdoor Mass.  Some how or other many seem to feel this action smacks of hypocrisy. (Say one thing and do another – isn’t that just like him, they are saying.) I suppose, if one wants to find fault and to be critical, a way can be found, and they found it. It’s too bad that some loose focus and can’t see the forest for the trees, literally speaking.
Most serious environmentalist are applauding the Pope and the
Vatican’s actions on behalf of humanity and the planet. Let us pray that the human family will wake up before it is too late. The this week the New York Time reported that biologist in the last 250 years have only been able to identify and categorize only 1.8 million species of plants, animals and micro-organisms which is estimated to be about 10 percent of the planet’s life forms. The good news is that with recent technological advances it is now going to be possible to identify and classify the other 90 percent in the next 25 years:“Why bother making such an effort,” asks the NY Times? “Because each species from a bacterium to a whale is a masterpiece of evolution. Each has persisted, its mix of genes slowly evolving, for thousands to millions of years. And each is exquisitely adapted to its environment and interlocks with a legion of other species to form the ecosystems upon which our own lives ultimately depend. We need to properly explore Earth’s biodiversity if we are to understand, preserve and manage it.”
Meanwhile bulldozers and chainsaws are furiously competing with the Scientist who are trying to preserve and understand God’s creation. Each day unknown species become extinct as their habitat fall prey to the ruthless rampage of so called developers. Maybe our Austrian friends should stop worring about five trees and rally behind church leaders who are trying to save the world’s forests and their inhabitants.

“What will we and future generations lose if a large part of the living environment continues to disappear, asks the Times.” And the answer they provide from the scientific community should make all men and women of good will applaud the Pope’s efforts to halt our planet’s destruction. “Huge potential stores of scientific information will never exist. Novel classes of pharmaceuticals and future crops will be thrown away. Ecological services like water purification, soil renewal and pollination — which are approximately equal to the world gross domestic product, and given away by natural ecosystems — will be diminished. Environmental stability will be harder to achieve.

If you would like to know more about the Pope’s visit to Austria go to this link.

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