News Release

Fighting the climate emergency: SACRU Universities united for planetary health

The paper Laudato Si' and the emerging contribution of Catholic research universities to planetary health, a collaborative effort of academics from the SACRU network, has been published in Lancet Planetary Health

Peer-Reviewed Publication

Universita Cattolica del Sacro Cuore

Research in the footsteps of Laudato Si and the integral ecology of Pope Francis is one of the main areas driving the action of the Strategic Alliance of Catholic Research Universities (SACRU), an international network of Catholic universities. The experts of the Working Group Catholic Identity and Laudato Si', The Common Home and Social Justice confirmed this commitment by publishing the paper Laudato Si' and the emerging contribution of Catholic research universities to planetary health in The Lancet Planetary Health, a prestigious scientific journal.

Among the authors is Paolo Gomarasca, Full Professor of Moral Philosophy at Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore: «Human exploitation of resources worsens climate change, pollution, and biodiversity loss, disproportionately affecting marginalized communities. Pope Francis, in ‘Laudato Si', advocates integrated solutions, emphasizing social justice and renewable energy. Catholic universities, like those in the SACRU network, promote interdisciplinary research and education, fostering sustainable solutions and planetary stewardship. Through collaboration with organizations like the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, they translate science into equitable policies, addressing global challenges effectively».

The paper points out that the main threats to the health of the planet - climate change, pollution, and loss of biodiversity - fall disproportionately on minorities and marginalized communities, who pay the heaviest price in terms of diseases and premature deaths. While technical solutions to planetary threats are often effective, as seen in the sharp declines in the manufacture of chlorofluorocarbon resulting from the Montreal Protocol, researchers point out that these are insufficient policies to prevent hazards yet to come.

The paper refers to Pope Francis' encyclical Laudato Si, published in 2015, in which the Holy Father, recognizing that human activity is the primary driver of climate change, urges the adoption of long-term solutions that can 'restore dignity to marginalized people.' To implement the Holy Father's vision in 2021, the Laudato Si Platform was launched to catalyze the cultural shift from exploiting the planet to protecting the common home for the well-being of all.

At the higher education level, this goal is expressed in the international and multidisciplinary collaboration between Catholic universities, of which SACRU is a virtuous example. The network is active in teaching, research, and service to society with the aim of putting scientific activities at the disposal of the common good. An example of this mission is embodied in the collaboration initiated by SACRU with FAO, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations. The bilateral agreement aims to tackle food and health inequalities on the planet, with special attention paid to developing countries.

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