Aide: Climate Change Talks Must Affect Our Lives

Spokesman Notes Ethical Implications of Copenhagen Conference

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 6, 2009 ( The elements that have led to this week’s U.N. climate change conference in Copenhagen must also be a call to lifestyle conversion, according to a Vatican spokesman.

On the most recent edition of Vatican Television’s «Octava Dies,» Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, analyzed the ethical implications of the Dec. 7-18 U.N. conference.

The priest proposed that «some time ago environmental and climate concerns seemed to many to be a luxury — worries for the rich. The concerns of the poor, who had to survive and meet basic needs, were different.»

But then, he said, «We understood that things were not quite that way.

«When there is drought or when there are environmental catastrophes, the poor are the first to suffer and die. Those who are in safer places or who have more resources for food or protection can better survive the worst environmental conditions.»

Thus, the spokesman asserted, caring for the health of the planet is something that must be done for everyone, and first of all, for the poor.

«The planet is like an organism in which imbalances reflect on each other,» Father Lombardi illustrated. «The alteration of the atmosphere’s composition, the increase of sea levels, the reduction of unpolluted fresh water reserves, the change in precipitation and hurricanes, soil erosion and desertification, damage to agriculture and human health. … And all of this fundamentally largely depends on human behavior and decisions.»

Our problem too

The Vatican spokesman observed that «the Copenhagen conference on climate will be considered a success or a failure according to the commitments that the governments will take on, above all those of the most powerful and largest countries. The ‘magic’ numbers on the reductions of harmful gas emissions and the funding to be procured will be pronounced.»

«But,» the Jesuit affirmed, «in the end everything will depend on the sum of each of our actions, [we] inhabitants of the earth, too used to thinking ourselves clever in shifting the responsibility on others.»

Referencing Benedict XVI’s «Caritas in Veritate,» Father Lombardi proposed «new lifestyles» and noted that «the ecological system depends on a good relationship between man and nature but also on his relationship with other men.»

«So,» he concluded, «Copenhagen’s problem is our problem too.»

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