The president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace was part of the opening segment at Monday’s United Nations High Level Event on Climate Change in New York, and he urged the representatives to embrace an "integral ecology."
Cardinal Peter Turkson brought the message of Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’ to the gathering. He noted that the 1992 Earth Summit in Brazil highlighted the centrality of human beings in concern for sustainable development, and the encyclical, more than 20 years laters, makes the same appeal.
"Through its Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the United Nations has availed itself of the best scientific research available. We need to allow such scientific conclusions to 'touch us deeply' so that we see and hear how the poor suffer and how the earth is being mistreated," he said.
The cardinal went on to cite the encyclical’s affirmations on climate change as a global problem, "one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day."
Cardinal Turkson pointed out the Pope’s observation that the indifference "points to the loss of that sense of responsibility for our fellow men and women upon which all civil society is founded."
Need for review
The Vatican official said that the "dominant model of development, production, commerce and consumption" must be reviewed.
"Yet," he added, "the single biggest challenge is not scientific or even technological, but rather within our minds and hearts."
"Such a courageous review and reform will take place only if we heed 'the call to seek other ways of understanding the economy and progress' (16). The political dimension needs to re-establish democratic control over the economy and finance, that is, over the basic choices made by human societies," he stated.
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