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On Earth Day, Pope Francis says the world is ‘at the limit’

On Earth Day, Pope Francis says the world is ‘at the limit’

Pope Francis speaks from the Vatican in a recorded video message for this year’s Earth Day. VATICAN MEDIA

By Hannah Brockhaus

Catholic News Agency

April 23, 2021

VATICAN— In a message marking Earth Day, Pope Francis urged world leaders to “act with courage, operate with justice, and always tell the truth to people,” so that the destruction of the planet can be prevented before it is too late.

“The adversity we are experiencing with the pandemic, and which we already feel in climate change, must spur us, must push us to innovation, invention, to seek new paths,” the pope said April 22.

The pope’s video message was played during an Earth Day live stream on YouTube organized by EarthDay.org, which oversees the event held annually on April 22 since 1970.

In his message, Pope Francis said that we do not emerge from a crisis the same, but “we come out better or worse.”

“This is the challenge, and if we do not come out better, we go down a path of self-destruction,” he said.

“In this commemoration of Earth Day, it is always good to remember that the things we have been saying to each other for a long time must not fall into oblivion,” he continued.

Francis said that for some time people have been more aware of the need to protect nature, and that interactions with the biodiversity given to us by God must take place “with the utmost attention and respect.”

The coronavirus pandemic, he said, has taught us more about the impact our lives have on nature and climate change.

“And this shows us that global nature needs our lives on this planet. It involves us all, albeit in multiple, different and unequivocal forms,” he said.

“In summary, the COVID pandemic has taught us this interdependence, this sharing of the planet. And both global disasters, COVID and the climate, show that we don’t have time to wait any longer. That time is pressing us and that, as COVID-19 has taught us, yes, we have the means to face the challenge. We have the means. It is time to act, we are at the limit.”

Pope Francis recalled a Spanish saying: “God always forgives, we men forgive from time to time, nature no longer forgives.”

“And when this destruction of nature is triggered, it is very difficult to stop it. But we still have time. And we will be more resilient if we work together instead of doing it alone,” he said.

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