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Ditch voracious shortsighted economic model pope urges

VATICAN (CNS): Pope Francis lambasted what he called “a fallacious” economic model” that exploits the earth’s resources while disregarding the rights and cultures of indigenous people has left the planet in a precarious condition and requires a change of heart that places the common good before financial gain
 
“It is a voracious model, profit-oriented, shortsighted, and based on the misconception of unlimited economic growth. Although we frequently see its disastrous impacts on the natural world and in the lives of people, we are still resistant to change,” the pope told participants of a May 2 to 3 conference at the Vatican titled, Mining for the Common Good, sponsored by the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.
 
He said that like all economic activities, mining “should be at the service of the entire human community,” especially indigenous people who are often pressured “to abandon their homelands to make room for mining projects which are undertaken without regard for the degradation of nature and culture.”
 
The pope continued, stressing, “They are not merely one minority among others, but should be the principal dialogue partners, especially when large projects affecting their land are proposed. I urge everyone to respect the fundamental human rights and voice of the persons in these beautiful yet fragile communities.”
 
The conference included representatives of the mining industry in Canada, Latin America, Africa and Asia. Members of the Anglican and Methodist Churches, the International Union of Superiors General, and Catholic social justice and development organisations also attended the event.
 
Also present were members of communities affected by the mining industry, including representatives of the town of Brumadinho, Brazil, where in late January, the Brumadinho dam, owned by the Vale mining company, collapsed.
 
The dam’s failure resulted in a catastrophic mudflow that killed over 200 people and caused vast amounts of toxic material from mined iron ore to seep into the soil. Experts believe that the toxic waste will eventually reach the São Francisco River, the longest river that runs entirely in Brazil.
 
The pope said that leaders of the mining industry must ensure that their activities lead “to the integral human development of each and every person” and “should be at the service of the human person and not vice versa.”
 
He said, “Attention for the safety and well-being of the people involved in mining operations as well as the respect for fundamental human rights of the members of local communities and those who champion their causes are indeed non-negotiable principles. Mere corporate social responsibility is not sufficient.” 
 
Citing his encyclical, Laudato Si’, on Care for Our Common Home, Pope Francis urged conference participants to “move away from the throwaway culture” and to continue to encourage industrial systems to adopt a “circular model of production capable of preserving resources and “maximising their efficient use, reusing and recycling them.”
 
He also thanked the mining industry leaders as well as community and Church representatives for attending the conference, which will aid them in safeguarding the planet while challenging them “to think and act as members of one common home.”
 
The pope said, “We need to act together to heal and rebuild our common home,” adding, “All of us are called to cooperate as instruments of God for the care of creation, each according to his or her own culture, experience, involvements and talents.”

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