In his speech before the United Nations today in New York, Pope Francis argued passionately in defense of the environment, proclaiming that the natural world should have the same rights and protection as humanity. The Pope insisted on the “rights of the environment” because, according to His Holiness:
We human beings are part of the environment. We live in communion with it, since the environment itself entails ethical limits which human actions must acknowledge and respect (…) Any harm done to the environment, therefore, is harm done to humanity… In all religions, the environment is a fundmental good.
The Pope also proclaimed the fundamental nature of the fight against climate change, which requires concrete and effective actions. A decisive moment in this fight will come this December at the Paris Climate Conference, where governments from around the world will meet and commit to global actions to confront the climate crisis. The Pope declared:
I’m confident that the Paris Conference on climate change will secure fundamental and effective agreements.
During the UN General Assembly, before leaders and representatives of the people of the world, the Pope added:
Our world demands of all government leaders a will that is effective, practical and constant, concrete steps and immediate measures for preserving and improving the natural environment.
This speech is a milestone in the struggle for the defense of the environment and against climate change. It’s yet another push to continue fighting every day for the preservation of biodiversity, ecosystems, freshwater, and the balance of life on this planet, this marvellous creation that we humans share with so many other forms of life.
At AIDA we strive every day to defend the right to a healthy environment in the Americas, and in our Climate Change program we monitor and support the negotiations to reach a new global climate accord.
As long as humanity and the environment suffer at the hand of irresponsible development, we will continue to fight in defense of the environment.