amazon deforestation Werner Rudhart/ZumaPress

François de la forêt

WASHINGTON, DC – Lorsque le Pape François a rendu visite à l’Amérique latine en juillet, il a prononcé un plaidoyer passionné pour la protection de la forêt tropicale amazonienne et des gens qui y vivent. « Notre patrimoine collectif est en train de se faire piller, saccager et détruire en toute impunité », déclarait-il à des activistes réunis en Bolivie pour la Réunion mondiale des mouvements sociaux. « Défendre une telle chose est une couardise et un péché grave ».

Prendre compte de l’appel à l’action de François n’est pas seulement une question d’ordre moral, mais comporte aussi des aspects pratiques. Lorsque les gouvernants du monde entier se réuniront à la Conférence sur les changements climatiques des Nations Unies, à Paris, plus tard dans l’année, pour formuler une riposte aux problèmes causés par le réchauffement climatique, ils devraient aussi mettre en place des mesures de protection des forêts tropicales et des populations qui y vivent.

François est loin d’être le premier missionnaire à s’être rendu en Amazonie. Les prêtres franciscains, jésuites et dominicains y prêchent l’évangile dans la région depuis plusieurs siècles. L’appel de François est toutefois différent, car son discours s’adressait moins aux populations locales, qu’aux personnes vivant en Amérique du Nord et en Europe, où la demande de produits du bois, de biocarburants et des produits agricoles entraîne la destruction des forêts tropicales et met en péril la vie des populations autochtones.

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