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Kevin ClarkeJuly 20, 2015

Pope Francis is not planning to allow "Laudato Si'" to suffer the fate of other papal documents, filed away to be dusted off by academics, high school social ethics teachers and DREs as the spirit moves them. At mashable.com, Andrew Freedman has a terrific report on how the Vatican is trying to keep the momentum going on the green encyclical.

Freedman writes: 

Anyone who thought that Pope Francis was going to issue his climate change manifesto, and then recede quietly into the background on the issue was sorely mistaken. 

In fact, judging from his agenda this week, it's clear that Francis intends to be a major player in spurring leaders to combat global warming, which he sees as inextricably linked to efforts to lift the plight of the world's poor.

This week, the Vatican's science committees will host two days of meetings with 50 mayors and governors from around the world; they will discuss ways to implement policies aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions, boosting resilience to climate extremes and eradicating poverty....The session on July 21 is called, “Modern Slavery and Climate Change: The Commitment of The Cities," while July 22 will feature speakers on “Prosperity, People and Planet: Achieving Sustainable Development in Our Cities.”

Participants at the meetings will include New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, California Gov. Jerry Brown, Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes, as well as mayors from Africa, Europe and Asia. Twenty-three members of the C40 Initiative, a group of 75 mayors who are committed to cutting greenhouse gas emissions while improving their communities' ability to withstand climate extremes, such as heat waves and sea level rise, are expected to attend....Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and Vatican host of the mayors summit, told Mashable that he hopes the mayors agree to work on cutting their greenhouse gas emissions, while also addressing the needs of the poor. 

"I hope the mayors commit to reducing local greenhouse gas emissions in their cities, and to building the resilience of the poor and those in vulnerable situations, reducing their exposure to climate-related extreme events and other economic, social and environmental shocks and disasters, including human trafficking and dangerous forced migration," Sanchez Sorondo wrote in an email.

"I am eager to listen to the best practices that they have put in place in their cities to fight both climate change and human trafficking."

Meanwhile at the Third International Conference on Financing for Development in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on July 15, Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, was pressing the pope's message on another front, the "human ecology" which is the other side of the coin to his "climate-change" driven concern natural ecology in "Laudato Si'".

“As Pope Francis said in his recent Encyclical Laudato Si’, development efforts cannot make significant progress if countries continue to emphasize their national interests to the detriment of the global common good,” Archbishop Auza said. “The solutions to global poverty and hunger cannot be left to market forces alone...To eradicate poverty and hunger, in particular extreme poverty and chronic hunger, the sharing of science and technology, the acceptance of ethical values like solidarity and social justice to influence the market, and joint political will must all align themselves.”

The archbishop told participants at the conference, an attempt to reach a global consensus on equitable finance mechanisms for global economic development, "Let us once again remind ourselves of our responsibility to ensure that the commitments made here in Addis Ababa meet our overarching goal to end poverty and hunger and to ensure sustainable, equitable, and integral development that leaves no country and no one behind.

"It is no longer enough for us to declare our desire to end poverty and hunger and to achieve sustainable development," he said. "We must embrace a transformative shift to translate declarations into actions, and commitments into achievements."

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Chuck Kotlarz
8 years 7 months ago
Ending poverty and achieving sustainable development—that to discuss these goals “…the Vatican's science committees will host two days of meetings with 50 mayors and governors from around the world.” The meeting of 50 brings to mind a document with 56 signatures and the phrase “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men.” 56 led to a great country, 50 perhaps can lead to a better world.

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