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Pope praises young climate activists

September 29, 2021

The top Catholic said it was "time to make wise choices" for the future of the planet, addressing some 400 young climate activists who had gathered in Milan.

Pope Francis gives the thumb-up sign as he arrives for his weekly general audience in the Paul VI Hall at the Vatican
The Pope congratulated the activists on their "work for the good of humanity."Image: Alessandra Tarantino/AP/picture alliance

Pope Francis on Wednesday praised young environmental activists for challenging global leaders on emission policies ahead of a United Nations climate summit next month. 

In a video message to the Youth4Climate climate gathering in Milan, Francis thanked the activists for their "dreams and good projects'' and encouraged them to help "rebuild the fabric'' of humanity through care for the planet.

The three-day youth gathering has drawn some 400 activists, including Sweden's Greta Thunberg and Uganda's Vanessa Nakate.

The Pope advocates for 'sustainable production'

The summit is sending recommendations to the United Nations climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, that begins Oct. 31.

The Pontiff said it was "time to make wise choices" for the future of planet and called to promote "a culture of care, a culture of responsible sharing."

"Solutions can be found to overcome energy poverty and to place the care of the commons at the center of national and international policies," Francis said.

These included "favoring sustainable production, circular economy, and the sharing of appropriate technologies," he added.

Dialogue with adults

The Pope said the young activists' vision so far has shown their preparedness for dialogue with leaders.

"This vision is capable of challenging the adult world, for it reveals that you are prepared not only for action, but also for patient listening, constructive dialogue and mutual understanding,'' he said.

The young activists in Milan are currently working on a joint declaration to be given to the hosts of the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow. 

Francis has made care for "our common home," the Earth, a hallmark of his papacy and devoted an entire encyclical to the issue in 2015.

The Bishops' Conference of Scotland has said it expects Francis to attend the Glasgow climate summit, though the Vatican hasn't officially confirmed his attendance.

go/aw (Reuters, AP, AFP)