At an online discussion held by the Catholic Academy in Freiburg, stakeholders from the church, the Fridays for Future movement and the scientific community called for more efforts in climate and environmental protection. The church plays an important role.
During the discussion, Archbishop Stephan Burger renewed the goal of a climate-neutral diocese by 2030 in terms of mobility, buildings and energy supply. At the same time, he said, everyone is called to critically examine their own lifestyles. "A good life requires much less than advertising and consumer appeals would have us believe," Burger said.
In a video message, Peruvian Cardinal Pedro Barreto called for solidarity with the countries of the South. "The greatest challenge of the present is to arrive at a new, holistic ecology. The exploitation of the earth, from which only a few profit, but from which so many poor and vulnerable people suffer, must finally stop," said the cardinal. There has long been a partnership between Peru and the diocese of Freiburg.
Demand for laws and government regulations
Tine Stein, a political scientist from Gottingen, said that overcoming the climate and environmental crisis would require more than changes in the lifestyles of individual citizens in wealthy countries. "We have to get to the big levers through laws and government regulations, for example in electricity production and by imposing strict requirements on industry and the construction sector," Stein said.
She stressed that the Catholic Church, through its worldwide presence and organization, is an important actor in promoting a political and social rethinking. At the same time, she attested to an "extreme credibility problem" for the church. The church will have a hard time standing up for fundamental and human rights if they are not fully guaranteed within the church.
"Politics reacts too slowly"
Stein mentioned the exclusion of women from priestly ordination and the slow processing of sexual abuse in her view.
Stakeholders from the "Fridays for Future" youth movement criticized politicians for reacting too slowly to the climate crisis. "So slowly the young activists are also running out of steam if politics doesn't act," said Freiburg Friday for Future representative Jule Pehnt.