Prelate: Climate Debate Should Center on Poor

Says Hearts Must Change Before the Environment

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LONDON, DEC. 8, 2009 ( The archbishop of Westminster is affirming that helping the poorest persons should be at the center of the climate change debate.

Archbishop Vincent Nichols said this Saturday at a «Time to Pray» ecumenical service regarding the environment and climate change.

The service, which featured addresses by various Christian leaders, was planned in conjunction with «The Wave,» a demonstration in central London aimed at drawing attention to climate change issues prior to the U.N. Copenhagen summit.

Representatives of some 190 countries have just gathered in Copenhagen, Denmark, for a two-week conference to seek a global pact on climate change.

Archbishop Nichols addressed the topic by expressing concern for «all those whose lives are directly affected by climate change, the world’s poorest and the most disadvantaged.»

«This is an important perspective which we must not lose in the midst of all the other concerns expressed in recent weeks,» he stated.

«We know that issues of world poverty and development cannot be separated from concerns for the environment,» the prelate said. «They are intimately connected.»

There is «much to do before we achieve sound and sustainable relationships between the peoples of this earth and with the environment of the created world,» he acknowledged.


«We sense within us never-ending demands,» the archbishop affirmed, «often provoked by the culture of our consumer society.»

He continued: «But we must look hard at the way we live our lives and consider again those whose future is threatened by the effects of our own lifestyles.

«Only when we are clearly prepared to change the way we live will politicians be able to achieve the change we say we want to see.»

«To love God is, among other things, to give thanks and praise for the gifts of creation and to recognize that they are destined for all people,» Archbishop Nichols stated.

Among these gifts, he said, is that of technology, and thus «technological advance is a crucial part of the way we will find solutions to the problems caused by climate change.»

Technology is «not morally neutral,» the prelate pointed out.

«Rather,» he explained, «its proper use is guided always by its effect on the common good.»

Thus, the archbishop continued, «let the genius of our finest minds serve the needs of all, and the needs of our environment.»

«At the center of our world stands the human person,» he affirmed, «every single one made in the image and likeness of God and deserving, for that reason alone, respect, freedom and cooperation.»

Archbishop Nichols concluded: «It is hope that inspires us; faith that sustains us. Our union with Christ in prayer is our source of energy, of a new life for our effort as his disciples.»

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