By Linda Bordoni
An International Conference entitled “Saving our Common Home and the Future of Life on Earth” is set to take place in the Vatican on 5 and 6 July.
Organized to coincide with the third anniversary of Pope Francis’ Encyclical “Laudato Sì”, the event will see the participation of Vatican Officials and climate change experts.
Launching the Conference on Tuesday morning in the Holy See Press Office, was Cardinal Peter Turkson, Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.
He told Vatican News the Conference intends to reiterate the urgent need for substantial changes in policy and lifestyle in order to safeguard Creation.
Cardinal Turkson explained that the aim of this conference is to awaken people to the gravity of the situation.
“We all know how the coral reefs are dying; we all know how whales are washed ashore their bellies full of plastic; how the temperature of the sea is rising so methane gas is being released from the ocean; we know the impact of everything happening: the ice caps melting, the sea levels rising, islands disappearing, the hurricanes becoming more and more violent – we know all of this” he said.
“What does it take – he continued - to decide to make a change?”
Turkson pointed out that in his Encyclical ‘Laudato Sì’ Pope Francis expressed great confidence in the ability of the human person to change for the better if he allows himself to be guided by the goodness of God.
“Yes we can change but we need to open ourselves to God and his grace” he said, noting that “if we limit ourselves to technology we will not go far.”
Turkson said what we need is a real conversion of heart, and what he and his Dicastery want to do is to work for change speaking the language of faith “so that with the grace of God we can bring about true change”.
The Vatican setting the example
His Dicastery, he said, is taking action and hopefully setting an example by installing a water purifying unit so that there is no more need to buy water in plastic bottles.
Turkson also said that the Vatican Governatorate may go ahead with plans to have solar panels installed and charger stations for electric vehicles:
“These are some suggestions we want to humbly suggest at the end of the conference”.