Pope Francis sends diametrically opposed messages when it comes to climate change.
This week, as he flew over the storm-ravaged Caribbean on his way back from Colombia, Pope Francis called on the world to save the planet. According to the NY Times, on the subject of climate change, he quoted from the Bible: “Man is stupid, the Bible said,” “It’s like that, when you don’t want to see, you don’t see.”
Pope Francis sees climate change as a moral and spiritual issue and has called on everyone to act.
However in 2015, Pope Francis said “not having children is a selfish choice.”
Population growth is the biggest driver of climate change. A report published earlier this year by Lund University and University of British Columbia calculated that having fewer children has overwhelmingly the greatest environmental impact. Having one less child is 24 times more impactful than living car free.
The UK based organisation, Population Matters, patronized by David Attenborough, is focused on communicating this message. Attenborough says “I have no doubt that the fundamental source of all our problems, particularly our environmental problems, is population growth. I can’t think of a single problem that wouldn’t be easier to solve if there were less people.”
He says that since he started making documentary programmes the world population has tripled.
Population Matters’ president, Roger Martin, describes the world’s tendency to tiptoe around the subject of population growth as the ‘mad taboo’.
Population Matters says “Current global population growth — approximately 10,000 more per hour — will stop one day, simply because a finite planet cannot sustain an infinite number of people. But it can only stop in one of two ways: either sooner, the humane way, by fewer births — family planning backed by policy to make it available and encourage people to use it — or later, the “natural” way, by more deaths — famine, disease and predation/war. Campaigners against the former are in practice campaigning for the latter. We owe it to our children to prevent this.”
In addition, the organisation says that “This is not just an issue for poor countries. Each person living in a developed country does far more damage to the planet than any poor African; every extra Briton, for instance, has the carbon footprint of 22 more Malawians.”
On one hand the Pope encourages the world to protect the planet, but on the other he stigmatizes a choice that has more environmental impact than any other.
When you don’t want to see, you don’t see.