They are scientists and religious leaders from 15 countries and eight denominations. The International Seminar on Science and Religions for the conservation of the environment united them all at the Shrine of Torreciudad in Spain. There, they launched an ambitious Declaration on the Protection of the Environment.
The seminar revolved around Pope Francis' encyclical, Laudato si', a year after its publication. They tried to find solutions to challenges such as climate change, an issue that concerns everyone, regardless of their religious beliefs.
Director, Faraday Institute for Science and Religion
"I think it's a really important occasion to get together scientists and people from religious traditions. I think it's really important, when we're talking about environmental issues, that we know what the science is saying.”
President, C. P. Ramaswami Aiyar Foundation
"This place, the shrine of Torreciudad, is so beautiful. I mean, this is what God wanted. And the big cities is what we got, what we gave Him, so I think it's perfect. The venue is perfect. The atmosphere, the ambiance is really perfect. I really feel that I am a part of the environment over here.”
Pope Francis sent a message to the participants in which he expressed his desire that the meeting would serve to "promote joint efforts and a sense of solidarity."
MSGR. MARCELO SÁNCHEZ SORONDO
President, Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences
"We must act together, so we can defend human dignity and uphold the dignity of the Earth, as well as environmental justice and human justice."
"I think Laudato si' was received well by a lot of Jews. I think a number of Jews read it, including myself, and I was particularly impressed by Pope Francis's discussion of the verses in Genesis, about dominating and conquering the Earth, and of how we need to understand those verses in terms of an ethic of stewardship, of how Genesis 2:15 says that God placed the human being in the Garden of Eden to serve it. And that therefore teaches that we have to be stewards of Creation.”
The scientists presented their graphs and statistics on climate change to show the seriousness of the issue.
In addition to signing a declaration, they planted an olive tree at the Shrine of Torreciudad as a symbol of the commitment by the various religious traditions and scientific community in environmental conservation. It is a commitment that promises to take root and bear good fruit.