Protecting the earth requires sharing clean technologies

VATICAN CITY – Industrialized nations “must share clean technologies” with developing nations, as well as curb the demand for goods that damage the environment, Pope Benedict XVI said.
Countries with emerging economies and undergoing rapid industrialization “are not morally free to repeat the past errors of others by recklessly continuing to damage the environment,” the pope said in a written message to environmental and religious leaders meeting in Greenland.
As such, “highly industrialized countries must share clean technologies and ensure that their own markets do not sustain demand for goods whose very production contributes to the proliferation of pollution,” he said.
The Sept. 1 message was addressed to Ecumenical Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, one of the sponsors of the seventh Religion, Science and the Environment symposium on the Arctic. The Vatican released a copy of the message to journalists Sept. 7.
The Sept. 6-12 meeting in Ilulissat, Greenland, brought together religious leaders from numerous traditions to focus on the impact pollution and climate change have had on the island’s rapidly melting glaciers.
First mentioning the symposium during his general audience Sept. 5, the pope repeated his support for its goals.
“Preservation of the environment, promotion of sustainable development and particular attention to climate change are matters of grave concern for the entire human family,” he said in the message.
“No nation or business sector can ignore the ethical implications present in all economic and social development,” the pope said.
Scientific research is increasingly clear in showing individual human actions can have “worldwide effects,” he said.
“The consequences of disregard for the environment cannot be limited to an immediate area or population because they always harm human coexistence, and thus betray human dignity and violate the rights of citizens who desire to live in a safe environment,” he said.
Pope Benedict said that, while people increasingly are aware that every individual “must take seriously the responsibility” to safeguard the earth’s resources, global solutions are needed, including increased cooperation between industrialized and developing nations.
“Spiritual alienation from creation” leads to many perils, the pope said, adding that the kind of relationship individuals or communities have with the environment depends on “their relationship with God.”
People who are distant from God and disregard his plan provoke “a disorder” that impacts other individuals, communities and the environment, the pope said.

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.