Papal Message on Peace and Environment Emphasizes Humanity’s Responsibility

Full title: Papal Message on Peace and the Environment Emphasizes Humanity's Responsibility to Safeguard the Environment

January 26, 2010
United Nations Environment Programme

Nairobi - The Vatican's permanent diplomatic representative to Kenya on Tuesday re-emphasized humanity's intrinsic connection to the environment and the well being of the planet.

Speaking before he delivered a message on Peace and the Environment at the United Nations Environment Programme's headquarters in Nairobi, H.E Archbishop Alain Lebeaupin said, "Development is above all a human issue, and we have an ethical obligation to protect creation".

Traditionally, on 1 January of every year, the Pope delivers a message for the World Day of Peace. This year, the message focuses on the environment, with a title urging, "If You Want to Cultivate Peace Protect Creation".

The message which was delivered to Under Secretary General and UNEP's Executive Director, Achim Steiner, encourages humans to be "guardians" and not "masters" of creation, careful cultivators and not blind "exploiters" of Nature.

This view is not exclusive to Christianity, it is ultimately a point agreed upon across different faiths. According to the UNEP publication Earth and Faith: A Book of Reflection for Action, the world religions condemn greed and destructiveness, and universally urge restraint and protection.

The book stresses that human beings are obligated to be aware and responsible in living in harmony with the natural world and should follow the specific practices prescribed by their traditions.