Pope Francis recently urged world leaders to take “radical decisions” at next week’s global environmental summit - COP26. In a message recorded exclusively for the BBC, the pontiff talked of crises including the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and economic difficulties, and urged the world to respond to them with vision and radical decisions, so as not to “waster opportunities” that the current challenges present. While speaking from the Vatican, Pope Francis said that the leaders attending the COP26 conference in Glasgow must offer “concrete hope to future generations”.
Speaking for BBC Radio 4’s Thought for the Day, Pope Francis said, “Climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic have exposed our deep vulnerability and raised numerous doubts and concerns about our economic systems and the way we organise our societies.”
“We have lost our sense of security, and are experiencing a sense of powerlessness and loss of control over our lives. We find ourselves increasingly frail and even fearful,” he added.
Further, the Pope went on to say that a succession of crises relating to healthcare, environment, food supplies and the economy were “profoundly interconnected”. They also forecast a “perfect storm” that could rupture the bonds holding the society together, he added. Pope Francis said that every crisis call for vision, the ability to formulate plans and put them rapidly into action, in a bid to rethink the future of the world.
“These crises present us with the need to take decisions, radical decisions that are not always easy. At the same time, moments of difficulty like these also present opportunities, opportunities that we must not waste,” the pontiff said.
The head of the Vatican went on to evoke the need for a “renewed sense of shared responsibility" for the world. He said that we can confront the crisis by “retreating into isolationism, protectionism and exploitation. Or we can see in them a real chance for change, a genuine moment of conversion, and not simply in a spiritual sense”. Moreover, the Pope said that this can be pursued through shared responsibility and an “effective solidarity” based on justice, a sense of common destiny and a “recognition of the unity of our human family in God’s plan for the world”.
Political decision-makers meeting at the upcoming UN climate conference “are urgently summoned to provide effective responses to the present ecological crisis and in this way to offer concrete hope to future generations. And it is worth repeating that each of us – whoever and wherever we may be – can play our own part in changing our collective response to the unprecedented threat of climate change and the degradation of our common home” the Pope said.