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Open letter to Pope Francis

Dear Pope Francis,

Your Eminence,

First of all, thank you very much for your visit to Portugal and for the commitment you have shown in the defence of our Common Home and the care we must take in preserving it to guarantee a future for the younger generations: "The ocean reminds us that human existence is called to live in harmony with an environment greater than ourselves; this must be guarded with care, taking into account the younger generations. How can we say we believe in young people if we do not give them a healthy space to build their future?".

We listened attentively to his words in his first official speech in our country, which were particularly dear to us as an environmental association fighting for the preservation of a green area of more than 50 hectares, in the so-called Quinta Nova de Santo António (popularly known as "Quinta dos Ingleses"), in Carcavelos.

Quinta Nova de Santo António is a unique green lung with a remarkable history and biodiversity (emphasised even in several official studies), essential for preserving the quality of life of the local population and Carcavelos Beach, with which it adjoins.

This area has a megalomaniac urbanisation project (850 flats, three hotels and a shopping centre), which dates back to the 60s of the last century and to which the Cascais City Council has just given the green light.

This development will annihilate the entire area, jeopardising the well-being and health of the population and future generations, causing and aggravating the effects of heat, increasing pollution and extinguishing all the benefits that a green area rich in biodiversity has, endangering the beach itself, by modifying the winds and the sedimentation of the sands, preventing present and future generations from the well-being to which they are entitled and further degrading our Common Home.

Considering and being aware of your commitment to the defence of our Common Home (as expressed in your speech in Portugal, in the Encyclical Laudato Sí and at the Angelus on 23 July;

Considering the climate crisis we are experiencing, of which the recent temperatures in Italy and Europe, together with flooding in other parts of the world, are a clear example;

Considering the World Youth Days and its passage through Cascais, where we were present;

We ask you: help us to stop the destruction for the pure profit of such a vast green area, essential for the younger generations; destruction that will deprive the young generations of an important part of our local Common House and will not even improve the lives or needs of the population (because it is only aimed at the luxury market), when the housing crisis affects so many Portuguese, as you also mentioned in your inaugural speech.

Help us to enlighten the short-sighted politicians who pursue an outdated policy, trapped in a destructive economy that has generated and continues to generate so much damage, notably due to property speculation.

For all these reasons, we have come to appeal to Your Holiness for your intervention, in prayers and with those responsible at a local level, so that the future of all of us may be safeguarded and the Common Home also preserved here, safeguarding the 50 hectares of life of Quinta Nova de Santo António (a Portuguese saint whose example and commitment you also mentioned in your passage through us).

With our best wishes and requesting His blessing for this cause,

SOS Quinta dos Ingleses


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