Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
WWF feels privileged to be partnering with World Youth Day and the Catholic Church, highlighting the very important link between faith and conservation and promoting the environmental protection of the Amazon. His Holiness, Pope Francis’ respect for nature and his strong call for sustainable and equitable development have been early hallmarks of his pontificate. We are grateful for his leadership and his wisdom in teaching that Catholics have a moral obligation to care for the poor and all of Creation. We hope his inspiration will motivate Catholic youth around the world to want to protect the Amazon, which is the basis of life for its inhabitants, for the population of all Latin America, and impacts people in all corners of the Earth. For those Catholic pilgrims attending WYD, these suggestions can help reduce the environmental footprint of their long journey to Rio de Janeiro.
The Amazon is at risk. Its local communities and Indigenous Peoples are threatened by change in climate patterns, and are in desperate need of strong national policies to deal with these threats. They are also suffering from the results of deforestation of the Amazon forests and disruption of river flow by large scale activities, such as cattle ranching and the building of dams and roads that carve through the region and fragment the forest. The Amazon forests play a vital role in stabilizing the global climate, through holding trapped carbon and defining weather patterns. The Amazon is also responsible for the circulation of moisture and humidity; the world’s largest ‘flying rivers’ that supply the continent with life-giving rainfall.
Inspired by Pope Francis’s words, and our partnership with World Youth Day, WWF offers five reasons to care for the Amazon and five things young Catholics can do to help:.