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Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew: “Climate change is already a harsh reality with global dimensions”

His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew emphasised the necessity for unified global efforts “regardless of geopolitical interests and other considerations” in a video message screened last night at the Nisyros Dialogues. The event was organised by the Georgios M. Mihalos Foundation and held under the auspices of the President of the Hellenic Republic, Katerina Sakellaropoulou, and the Patriarch himself.

Climate change is already a harsh reality with global dimensions and implications, not a future scenario, the Ecumenical Patriarch emphasised, highlighting the urgent need for immediate action.

His All-Holiness stated that while taking small steps is important, it is insufficient to address what may be the greatest threat to life on our planet. He emphasised the urgency of effectively tackling the root causes of the crisis, not just its effects.

The Ecumenical Patriarch highlighted the spiritual and moral roots of the ecological crisis and social problems. He noted that a significant aspect of this crisis is that “humans, although aware of the consequences of their choices, continue to act as if they did not know.” He stressed that “in the face of the ecological crisis, humans mistakenly hope that nature will somehow overcome the ongoing human-caused destruction and regenerate itself on its own.”

After acknowledging the presence of healthy reactions and promising developments, including notable civil society initiatives, dynamic ecological movements, scientific breakthroughs, political decisions made for the common good, efforts to respect human dignity and the integrity of creation, and advancements in environmental education, he highlighted the necessary changes that must be made.

Beyond all this, the Ecumenical Patriarch emphasised that “a radical shift in mindset and a fundamental reversal are required—a transition from a focus on having to a focus on being.” To an eco-friendly culture and to a culture of solidarity.” The Ecumenical Patriarch stressed that spiritual forces, such as the major religions, can and should contribute to these changes by harnessing their ecological, social, and peace-building potential.

The Ecumenical Patriarch highlighted the issue of overtourism, a topic discussed at the Nisyros Dialogues. He pointed out that its challenges underscore the importance of alternative forms of tourism not only for the sustainable development and preservation of the natural environment but also for enriching spiritual and cultural experiences overall. In this context, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew added, the proper understanding of what is known as religious tourism is also important.

Finally, the George N. Michalos Foundation was commended for its efforts.