Pope Francis Calls for Adoption of ‘Environmentally Sustainable Lifestyle’

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Rome — Pope Francis continued his environmental crusade Wednesday, urging Catholics to adopt “a simple and environmentally sustainable lifestyle.”

Each month, the Vatican publishes the pope’s prayer intention for the month, together with a video of the pontiff elucidating that intention. For the month of September, 2021, the papal intention has an overtly ecological message, asking God for the courage to embrace an environmentally sustainable lifestyle.

“It makes me very happy to see that young people have the courage to undertake projects for environmental and social improvement, since the two go together,” Francis says in his message. “We adults can learn much from them, because in all matters related to care for the planet, they are at the forefront.”

The pope has been an outspoken admirer of Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg and a vocal supporter of her efforts to raise awareness of the perils of climate change.

In January 2020, the pope praised the way young people “have become active in calling the attention of political leaders to the issue of climate change.”

“The protection of the home given to us by the Creator cannot be neglected or reduced to an elitist concern,” he said.

“Young people are telling us that this cannot be the case, for at every level we are being urgently challenged to protect our common home and to bring the whole human family together to seek a sustainable and integral development,” he added.

“They remind us of the urgent need for an ecological conversion, which must be understood in an integral way, as a transformation of how we relate to our sisters and brothers, to other living beings, to creation in all its rich variety and to the Creator who is the origin and source of all life,” he said.

In Wednesday’s video, Francis urged his hearers to listen to young people engaged with environmental issues, inviting them to “take advantage of their example and reflect on our lifestyle, especially during these moments of health, social and environmental crisis.”

“Let us reflect on how the way we eat, consume, travel, or the way we use water, energy, plastics, and many other material goods, is often harmful to the earth,” he said.

“Let us choose to change! Let us advance with young people towards lifestyles that are simpler and more respectful of the environment,” he added.

In conclusion, the pope invited Christians to pray “that we all will make courageous choices, the choices necessary for a simple and environmentally sustainable lifestyle, taking inspiration from our young people who are resolutely committed to this.”

They aren’t foolish, he said, “because they are committed to their own future. This is why they want to change what they will inherit at a time when we will no longer be here.”

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