The Pope tackles sustainability

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Science  19 Sep 2014:
Vol. 345, Issue 6203, pp. 1429
DOI: 10.1126/science.1259742


The war on environmental degradation has a powerful new ally: Pope Francis. Prompted by a Joint Workshop of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences on sustainability that was convened in May 2014, the Vatican has articulated some of its strongest environmental statements to date, calling for all of us to take personal responsibility and redirect our relationship with nature to ensure the future habitability and sustainability of this planet (see the Perspective on p. 1457). The problems that motivate the Vatican are no different from those that concern the scientific community: depletion of nonrenewable resources, loss of ecosystem services, and risks from changing climate. But what the Vatican contributes is the rationale for taking action: because it is our moral responsibility to bequeath a habitable planet to future generations.