Pope Francis participated this afternoon in a meeting on climate change and slavery, where he addressed more than 70 mayors from different parts of the world. During his address in Spanish, he analyzed the two emergencies being addressed during the course of the two-day workshop: climate change and human trafficking.
The culture of care of the environment is not only a “green” attitude, it’s “much more,” said the Pope. Therefore, he specified that to look after the environment is to have an attitude of human ecology. Ecology “is total, it is human,” he said. The Holy Father went on to explain that in the encyclical Laudato Si’, he pointed out “that man cannot be separated from the rest.”
The two-day workshop, “Modern Slavery and Climate Change: the Commitment of the Cities,” is sponsored by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. The workshop began today and ends tomorrow.
The Pontiff warned of “the boomerang effect that exists against man when the environment is mistreated.”
In connection with the meeting underway, Francis said that he thought it was a good idea to invite the mayors because, the Pontiff pointed out, “one of the things most noted when the environment isn’t looked after is the unbridled growth of cities. It is a worldwide phenomenon. It is as if the heads grow big but increasingly with greater cordons of poverty and misery,” he explained.
People suffer the effects of the neglect of the environment, he continued. “And involved in this connection is the migratory phenomenon,” he added. Why do people come to the big cities? He asked. “Because the rural world no longer gives them opportunities,” he answered.
The Holy Father then mentioned another point in the encyclical, which criticizes the idolatry of technocracy, something that despoils work, which creates unemployment, he said, highlighting youth unemployment that affects so many European countries.
What horizon, what future is offered these young people? He warned that they risk falling into addictions, boredom, loss of what to do with their lives, suicide, or involvement in guerrilla projects that offer an ideal of life.
The Pontiff also pointed out the quantity of “strange illnesses,” which stem from the excess of the technical, just as he warned about the desertification and deforestation of some areas of the planet. And all these phenomena come together in “black work.” The inability to earn what is necessary to live can cause criminal attitudes, he stressed. In this connection he condemned once again slave labor and prostitution as “sources of work to be able to survive.”
On the other hand, the Holy Father said that he has hope in the Paris summit, which will be held at the end of the year, to come to a “fundamental basic agreement.” The United Nations must be strongly interested in this phenomenon, he added.
Pope Francis presented the problems “when man doesn’t respect the relation with the Earth.” By way of example, he spoke of atomic energy – “it’s good, it can help,” but the negative part of this energy exists, such as “Hiroshima and Nagasaki,” he observed.
To conclude his address, the Holy Father called attention to the responsibility that those present have to combat the traffic of persons and to protect the environment. “The most serious and profound work is done from the periphery to the center,” he explained, in other words, “from you to the conscience of humanity.”