Dear Brother Francis!
It is with deep concern that I turn to you, the supreme representative of the Catholic Church. I live in Graz, Austria. Since 8 years as of now, committed people have been fighting in order to prevent the destruction of the still freely flowing Mur by a water power station in the middle of the town.
The most important reasons are that Graz as a stronghold of particulates (fine dust) needs especially urgently the thousands of trees of the shoreland of the Mur for the city climate in order to reduce the heat and the dust putting a strain on the health of the people.
In the first light of dawn of 6th February 2017 the start of the construction of the power station has unexpectedly begun and trees, partly hundreds of years old, had been felled. According to a tree count about 16,500 trees will lose their lives until the completion of the construction including the central storage channel and will never again give oxygen, shade or coolness to the people.
In addition, thousands of birds have become homeless. Even animals like the dice snake and the Danube salmon (the biggest fish living in the Mur), both of which are on the red list of the protection of endangered species, lose their natural habitat. All that for a power station which is not energy-efficient and which bears no relation to the environmental destruction which is necessary for it.
People like us from the civilian population lose our recreational area which has been free up to now. Close-living neighbours lose their quality of life in the long term and get the highest strains and health hazard.
Costs amounting approximately to 100 million euros for the power station and the central storage channel are imposed on the town and its citizens, which also lead to “savings” among the poorest of the town by denying the access to welfare benefits or by raising the prices for public services for the bulk of the population.
In our desperation we have written to our bishop Krautwaschl several times. Unfortunately, we haven’t received a reply to any of our inquiries to this day.
It is also painful that the regional newspaper (“Kleine Zeitung”), which belongs to the catholic press association, does not comply with its task to receive information and to promote Christian values, for there are no comprehensive reports on the things which are done to the Creation.
Dear Brother Francis, your expositions in “Laudatio si” on the creation impress me by the straightness and far-sightedness. I also ask the church here in Graz for the same, not only in words, but also in deeds, for: “If one does not see in the own reality the worth of a poor man, of a human embryo, of a handicapped person (…), only hardly will one hear the cries of nature itself!”
I do hope that my words reach you in that coherence and urgency with which I want them to express. Really much is to be lost for the people living here.
I entreat you, dear Brother Francis, for your support. Maybe an epistle to all parishes and to our bishop written by you can be effective, in order to stimulate talks at least between politicians and the catholic church with the calling-in of the population of Graz, so that even our children can find surroundings worth living and fit for human beings for shaping their life and casually learn to esteem and to care for the Creation.
I know that there is more worse distress, war and misfortune in this world which people have to cope with. Mind you, our living space and the preservation of the Creation are also essential to our future. The destruction of nature in our living space, provided that it is completely put into action, will put human beings in danger of getting psychically and physically ill. Moreover, about 80 percent of the animals in the river will become extinct or will be run over by excavators and building machinery.
With the greatest respect.
Karin Rausch and the undersigned