The planet betrayed

  • Italiano
don Aldo

Several weeks have been dedicated to the discussion of some troubling problems that afflict our planet such as pollution, overpopulation and global warming. On the 5 June, in fact, was celebrated the World Environment Day, proclaimed in 1972 by the United Nations General Assembly, while the 8 June was the World Day of the oceans. The culmination of these initiatives, takes place in Bologna with the G7 of the Ministers of the Environment of Italy, Great Britain, Germany, Japan, France, the USA and Canada, with the addition of those of Chile, Maldives, Ethiopia, and Rwanda, four States that are particularly engaged in environmental policies, in representation of the developing countries.

In recent days, the tone of the debate greatly intensified, following the announcement by US President Donald Trump to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on the climate, the most important treaty of recent years to substantially reduce the emissions of carbon dioxide, one of the leading and most dangerous greenhouse gases. Only Syria and Nicaragua so far did not join the agreement signed in December 2015 by Barack Obama and other 194 countries. The decision of the new president of the United States has mostly a political value because the exit, according to the rules under the agreement, can actually start only after four years. Certainly, as stated by the Italian President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella,” we have a common responsibility before humanity: to guarantee the right to life” and this “entails that the exploitation of resources does not exceed their reproduction capacity and that the distribution of goods is ordered in the sign of justice, without forcing the weakest to marginalization and without plundering the generations to come of opportunities”.

It is necessary to tackle the improvident use of the resources of the planet at various levels: from individual behaviour to national policies, up to the multilateral international agreements. The attitude should be ethical and not based on the logic of profit, by integrating the protection of the creation and combating poverty and social exclusion. “What kind of world do we want to transmit to those who will come after us, to the children that are growing up?” asked Pope Francis in the Encyclical Laudato si’. And this is the focal point if we really want to take care of our common home” by bringing forward the principle of an integral ecology made of simple daily gestures in which the tragic spiral of violence, exploitation, indifference gets cut off. The defence of the creation, the environment – even considered in its human and social dimensions – and the fight against inequality are crucial aspects and closely connected.

In this context, the destruction of the ecosystem contributes to the perpetration of a “disposable” logic that does not save anything or anybody. This produces, even at our latitudes, different types of poverty afflicting so many individuals and an increasing number of families, in addition to threatening the life of lonely and elderly people. Remaining silent in front of these injustices means being on the part of the powerful and of the bullies who only think about obtaining the bigger immediate profit, according the ruthless mechanisms of the economy. Social inequalities can be fought only with solidarity and sharing, together to listening and welcoming the lowliest, having clear in mind that the fundamental principle is always the dignity of the human being.

The creation was given to us not to be exploited but to be preserved and at the same time enhanced by human intelligence, without forgetting the fragile balance that binds every living creature to the planet. In the meantime, we should start with being committed to maintain our cities much more clean showing respect, civic sense and shared responsibility towards the environment. Unfortunately, our beautiful country is treated badly by its own compatriots, disfigured and exploited without restraint. It seems that the ecological mafias grow profusely and undisturbed in the pervasive omissions of those who instead should demand the respect of certain laws. We shall therefore learn to respect what surrounds us as a great mystery of which we are not the absolute masters or owners, but the administrators for the benefit of all.

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