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In an open letter to Pope Francis, 50 farming and environmental groups thanked the Pontiff for his ongoing support for sustainable agriculture and biodiversity in the face of powerful special interest groups that have downplayed agricultural concerns, like the need to promote greater understanding of climate change.
In the bold style for which the Pope has come to be known, the Catholic leader has said previously that the Earth’s inhabitants, particularly the wealthy, would one day be judged by God on whether or not “they really tried to provide for Him in every person, and if they did what they could to preserve the environment so that it could produce this food.”
In his encyclical letter “On Care for Our Common Home,” Pope Francis addressed the urgency of climate change, telling Catholics, “This sister [the Earth] now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her.” In a message given on World Environment Day in 2013, the Pope also compared food waste to “stealing from the table of the poor and the hungry.”
Once again, Pope Francis has been asked to speak out on behalf of the powerless, with the coalition of farmers asking him for his “continued support in protecting regenerative organic food systems like the milpa, and the rights of ‘Every campesino…to possess a reasonable allotment of land where he can establish his home, work for subsistence of his family and a secure life.’”
The letter continues, “We share your conviction that everything in the world is connected, and that to seek ‘only a technical remedy to each environmental problem which comes up is to separate what is in reality interconnected and to mask the true and deepest problems of the global system.’
“As world leaders prepare to gather here in Mexico for the COP13 Convention On Biodiversity in December, we ask you to continue to speak out about the role that industrial agriculture has played in destroying our soil, health and biodiversity, even as it has failed to alleviate world hunger.
“There is a solution to food insecurity, climate change and biodiversity loss. We must opt for regenerative organic agriculture. The urgency of this problem demands that we join forces and work together to achieve change. We thank you for your courage and your commitment to the world’s poorest, and we accept your challenge to approach these complex crises by seeking solutions that not only protect nature, but also combat poverty and restore dignity to the excluded.”