The Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano has decried the “senseless process of self-destruction” of “our increasingly tortured” planet.

Driving the news

In a prominent front-page op-ed in its July 26 edition, Osservatore journalist Gaetano Vallini said that after the July 20 celebrations for the 50th anniversary of the “exceptional event” of first crewed moon landing, two pieces of news from Iceland and the Amazon have brought humanity “back down to earth”.

Vallini was referring, in the first place, to the announcement that Iceland will unveil a memorial next month to a glacier lost to climate change.

“In the next 200 years, all our glaciers are expected to follow the same path, This monument is to acknowledge that we know what is happening and what needs to be done. Only you know if we did it”, reads the plaque to be dedicated in August to the lost Okjökull glacier.

Vallini was also referring to the release of a rare video of an endangered Amazon tribesman still uncontacted by modern civilisation.

“This video is further proof that the uncontacted Awá [tribe] really exist”, Survival International director Stephen Corry said on the release of the video.

“Only a public outcry separates them from a genocide”, Corry warned.


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Go deeper

Osservatore journalist Vallini said both stories are “a cry for help” from our planet and its most vulnerable inhabitants.

“The environment is at risk, and some places more than others, even though we now know that everything is interconnected”, wrote Vallini.

“Many populations are at risk, with their baggage of history and culture. Some are more endangered than others. But if it is true that the poorest are the first to pay the price of climate change and the unregulated exploitation of resources, we are realizing that the bill is quickly coming to everyone, even if we do not want to admit it”, Vallini continued in his op-ed.

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What’s next

Vallini blasted in his piece the “spiral of destruction” that planet Earth is on.

He said it is the consequence of an economic model that is “no longer sustainable”, as well as of “short-sighted” environmental policies and long-term exploitation of natural resources.

“The future of the Earth is in our hands”, warned Vallini.

The journalist praised Pope Francis for his insistence that the world undertake an “ecological conversion” that combines care for creation, equity towards the poor and a commitment to a just society and sustainable development.

“One thing is sure: we need to change, and quickly, otherwise we will suffer catastrophes we’ve never seen before”, wrote Vallini.

“Maybe it’s not too late”, he added.


PhD in ancient Jewish/Christian history and philosophy. University ethics lecturer with 4 years' experience in religion journalism.