On June 18, 2015, Pope Francis’ 184-page long Encyclical Letter was published, in which he calls for the transformation of lifestyles, politics, agriculture, economics, and business in general to tackle environmental degradation.
“The violence present in our hearts is also reflected in the symptoms of sickness evident in the soil, in the water, in the air and in all forms of life,” he says.
The expansion of these [genetically engineered] crops has the effect of destroying the complex network of ecosystems, diminishing the diversity of production and affecting regional economies, now and in the future. In various countries, we see an expansion of oligopolies for the production of cereals and other products needed for their cultivation. This dependency would be aggravated were the production of infertile seeds to be considered; the effect would be to force farmers to purchase them from larger producers. Certainly, these issues require constant attention and a concern for their ethical implications. A broad, responsible scientific and social debate needs to take place, one capable of considering all the available information and of calling things by their name. Discussions are needed in which all those directly or indirectly affected (farmers, consumers, civil authorities, scientists, seed producers, people living near fumigated fields, and others) can make known their problems and concerns, and have access to adequate and reliable information in order to make decisions for the common good, present and future. This is a complex environmental issue; it calls for a comprehensive approach which would require, at the very least, greater efforts to finance various lines of independent, interdisciplinary research capable of shedding new light on the problem.”