VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Increasing threats against biodiversity, unsustainable use of the earth’s resources and accelerated extinction rates are driven more by overconsumption and unjust wealth distribution than by the number of people on the planet, a Vatican workshop concluded.
While the world’s population has tripled since 1950 with close to 7.4 billion people today, per capita income growth and world GDP has seen bigger gains with huge benefits to much of humanity, said a statement released March 2.
However, “aside from threatening millions of species with extinction, this enormous increase in economic activity based on profit and on the use of fossil fuels is putting huge strains on the earth’s capacity to function sustainably,” it said.
The “final declaration” came at the end of a workshop on “Biological extinction: How to save the natural world on which we depend,” sponsored by the pontifical academies for sciences and social sciences and held Feb. 27-March 1.
Solutions to the problem, according to the final statement, were more about correcting unjust systems and selfish behaviors than population control.
“Just as human activities are responsible for these negative effects,” such as global warming and threats to biodiversity, “today we need positive human action for the sustainable development of biodiversity,” it said.
Even though population numbers do have an impact, “we don’t endorse artificial methods of birth control,” Peter Raven, a botanist and member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, said at a Vatican news conference March 2.
Everyone has a right to live, so there must be a moral and responsible growth of families, as popes have taught, he said, and more room made “for social justice, love and charity.”
The waste or overconsumption by wealthier nations comes at the expense of the poor, who then have “no alternative” other than to exhaust their own local resources, he said.
Pursuing “our individual greed” and relying on a system that is “unbalanced and unjust” will leave the world “less varied, less rich, less creative” and destroy opportunities and gifts given to humanity, he said.
In a time to build, CatholicPhilly.com connects people and communities
As society emerges from the loss and separation of the pandemic, CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you join in our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103