pope-francis-707373_640

Pope Francis declares we no longer can turn our backs on Mother Earth.

Pope Francis has continued his campaign for environmental issues during his ongoing visit to South America.

In his first major speech since his ecology-centered encyclical, Francis said that protecting the Earth was no longer a choice but a duty, Religion News reports.

Speaking in Quito, the capital of Ecuador, the pontiff stressed that we no longer can turn our backs on Mother Earth, and called for a new “social justice” where access to the planet’s resources would be based on equality instead of economic interests.

The pope also indirectly responded to the criticism that his encyclical and previous statements on environmental issues have sparked. “It is wrong to turn aside from what is happening all around us, as if certain situations did not exist or have nothing to do with our lives,” he said.

The pope has been heavily criticized especially by the American Republicans, who have urged the pontiff to stick to preaching and stay out of politics.

Recently Manuel Hintz, a prominent economist and the former finance minister of El Salvador, wrote in a Quartz article that while the pope’s concern about the environment is laudable, we cannot blame capitalism for pollution and other environmental issues.

Earlier this month, Nobel prize winning scientist, Dr. Ivan Giaever, said that global warming is a “non-problem”, adding that President Barack Obama, who is one of the popes strongest allies in his campaign, is “dead wrong” in saying that climate change is the greatest threat to future generations.

Francis has said that he wanted his encyclical to influence the upcoming United Nations climate change summit in December. He is expected to voice his concern for the environment also during his visit to the United States in September.

Resources

Follow the Conversation on Twitter