Farmers must protect earth for the future – pope

The gift of the earth must be preserved for future generations, says Pope Francis

The gifts of the earth must be preserved for future generations, says Pope Francis

February 9, 2015

Farmers must find a delicate balance between reaping the precious gifts of the earth and protecting them for future generations, Pope Francis said.

That task becomes even more serious given the threat of climate change, the pope said in a Jan. 31 meeting with an Italian trade group that lobbies to protect agricultural land and promote farm-friendly policies.

At the same time, the vast and ongoing problems of poverty and hunger demand that today's "system of food production and distribution be rethought," he said.

Cultivating and caring for the earth go hand in hand, he said. But "every farmer knows well how it has become more difficult to cultivate the earth at a time that accelerated climate change and extreme weather events are ever more widespread."

Pope Francis said the question was "how to continue to produce good food for everyone's life when the stability of the climate is at risk" and when the air, water and the soil become polluted.

Nations need to realize how urgent it is to collaborate and take "prompt action" to take care of creation, he said.

The dominant economic system excludes many people from receiving their share of the goods of the earth, he said. The precedence given to "the rules of the market," the culture of waste and other factors contribute to the suffering and misery of many families.


The major challenge today is to promote "low impact agriculture" so that "our cultivating the earth is also caring for it at the same time," he said. This is the only way future generations will be able to continue to live.

Farming is a "real and true vocation" that should receive the kind of recognition and respect it deserves, the pope said." Too many obstacles that penalize farmers often make farming seem unappealing to younger generations.

The pope asked that people rediscover "love for the earth like a 'mother,' as St. Francis (of Assisi) would say."