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Pope: save planet from “debris, desolation and filth”

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by Reuters Thursday, 1 September 2016 11:25 GMT

“God gave us a bountiful garden, but we have turned it into a polluted wasteland”

* Francis portrays defending nature as core part of faith

* Says citizens must insist Paris climate accord honoured

By Crispian Balmer

ROME, Sept 1 (Reuters) – Pope Francis called on Thursday for concerted action against environmental degradation and climate change, renewing a fierce attack on consumerism and financial greed which, he said, were threatening the planet. A year after publishing the first papal document dedicated to the environment, the pope urged Christians to make the defence of nature a core part of their faith, adding it to the seven “works of mercy” they are meant to perform.

“God gave us a bountiful garden, but we have turned it into a polluted wasteland of debris, desolation and filth,” Francis said in a document released to coincide with the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation. Born in Argentina, Francis is the first pope from a developing nation and has placed environmental causes at the heart of his papacy, denouncing what he sees as a throwaway consumer culture and rampant, market-driven economies.

“Economics and politics, society and culture cannot be dominated by thinking only of the short term and immediate financial or electoral gains,” Francis said, suggesting more ambitious action might be needed to curb climate change. World leaders agreed in Paris last December to commit to limiting greenhouse-gas emissions in an effort to stabilise rising temperatures, while the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said in July the earth was warming faster than expected and on track for its hottest year ever.

Francis welcomed the Paris accord, but urged voters everywhere to make sure their governments did not backtrack….

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