On Thursday evening, Pope Francis departed from Washington, D.C. and arrived in New York City, where he has events scheduled until Saturday morning when he will leave for the start of his visit to Philadelphia. The main event for his time in New York was the pope's address to the United Nations General Assembly. A pope has not addressed the U.N. since 2008, and Pope Francis' visit drew a record number of leaders. According to The New York Times, the attendance at the pope's address was the largest ever gathering of U.N. presidents and prime ministers, many of whom had not made an appearance at the U.N. in years. The pope's speech focused on climate change and the Syrian refugee crisis in Europe, both urgent issues in which the entire world has some role to play.
The pope released a controversial encyclical on the environment in the spring, which was met with a great deal of resistance from conservative Catholics who have not accepted some of the hard truths about climate change and the role of humans in exacerbating climate issues. The increasingly negative impacts of climate change are of great concern to environmentalists, but actions to mitigate the effects and implement large-scale sustainability practices have been stymied by politicians who have also been unwilling to accept or acknowledge our role in caring for the environment. The pope's encyclical stated the climate change is real, that humans have contributed to it, and that action is urgently needed. His message to the U.N. today echoed these sentiments.
A Threat To The Existence Of Humans
"The ecological crisis, and the large-scale destruction of biodiversity, can threaten the very existence of the human species."
We Are Not Authorized To Abuse The Environment
"The environment is a fundamental good. Mankind is not authorized to abuse it and much less authorized to destroy it."
War Harms The Environment
"War is the negation of all rights and a dramatic assault on the environment."
Greed Hurts The Environment And The Disadvantaged
"A selfish and boundless thirst for power and material prosperity leads both to the misuse of available natural resources and to the exclusion of the weak and disadvantaged."
The Environment Is Harmed By Human Selfishness
"The misuse of creation begins when we no longer recognize any instance above ourselves, when we see nothing else but ourselves."
"Right Of The Environment"
"A true 'right of the environment' does exist, for two reasons. First, because we human beings are part of the environment. We live in communion with it, since the environment itself entails ethical limits which human activity must acknowledge and respect. Man, for all his remarkable gifts, which 'are signs of a uniqueness which transcends the spheres of physics and biology,' is at the same time a part of these spheres."
Nature Is Sacred
"This common home of all men and women must also be built on the understanding of a certain sacredness of created nature."