Pope Francis on Saturday shared the concerns of island, coastal and fishing communities, and called for global cooperation, solidarity and strategies to address issues such as the deterioration of the environment and the health of oceans.
Meeting some 46 members of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat in the Vatican, the Pope shared the concerns of those exposed to frequent extreme environmental and climate events, and the impact of rising sea levels and the continuous deterioration of the barrier reef.
He blamed many of the causes of this “environmental decay” on the short-sighted human activity… connected with certain ways of exploiting natural and human resources.
Earth without borders
The Pope however expressed satisfaction that the problem of global warming and rising sea levels that mainly affect impoverished coastal populations, are being discussed in international forums, such as the on-going United Nations COP-23 Climate Change Conference in Bonn.
He evoked the vision of an “earth without borders” that calls for the need for a global outlook, international cooperation and solidarity, and a shared strategy, to address environmental problems.
He lamented that since the appeal by the Filipino bishops nearly 30 years ago, the situation of the oceans and the marine ecosystem, especially the barrier reef, has not really improved. We still face problems, including pollution caused by the accumulation of plastics and micro-plastics in oceans, the Pope said.