Let’s ideally cross the ocean and think of South America. Why did you convene a Synod on the Amazon in the Vatican in October?
“It is the “child” of the “Laudato si”. Those who have not read it will never understand the Synod on the Amazon. Laudato si’ is not a green encyclical, it is a social encyclical, which is based on a “green” reality, the custody of Creation”.
Is there any significant episode for you?
“A few months ago, seven fishermen told me: ‘In recent months we have collected 6 tons of plastic’. The other day I read about a huge glacier in Iceland that has almost completely melted: they built a memorial for it. With the Siberia’s wildfires, some glaciers in Greenland melted. The people from a country on the Pacific are moving away because in 20 years the island on which they live will no longer be there. But the fact that has shocked me the most is yet another”.
“The Overshoot Day: On July 29th, we used up all the regenerative resources of 2019. From July 30 we started to consume more resources than the planet can regenerate in a year. It’s very serious. It’s a global emergency. Ours will be an urgent Synod. But beware: a Synod is not a meeting of scientists or politicians. It is not a parliament: it is something else. It was convened by the Church and will have an evangelizing mission and dimension. It will be a work of communion guided by the Holy Spirit”.
But why focus on the Amazon?
“It is a representative and decisive place. Together with the oceans it contributes decisively to the survival of the planet. Much of the oxygen we breathe comes from there. That’s why deforestation means killing humanity. And then the Amazon involves nine states, so it doesn’t concern a single nation. And I’m thinking of the richness of the Amazonian plant and animal biodiversity: it’s wonderful”….
Your Holiness, what do you fear most for our planet?
“The disappearance of biodiversity. New lethal diseases. A drift and devastation of nature that can lead to the death of humanity”.
Do you see some new awareness on the environment and climate change issue?
“Yes, especially in the movements of young ecologists, such as the one led by Greta Thunberg, “Fridays for future”. I saw a sign from them that struck me: ‘We are the future!’”.
Can our daily conduct – separating waste collection, not wasting water at home – have an impact or is it insufficient to counter this phenomenon?
“It does have an impact, because it is a matter of concrete actions. And then, above all, it creates and spreads the culture of not dirtying creation”.