Pope Francis has lauded the efforts of young climate activists, telling them they are “making the future today”.
Addressing a youth environmental summit in Milan by video, the head of the Catholic Church praised them for their vision and for challenging the “adult world”.
He told the youth activists that he encouraged them “to develop your work for the good of humanity”.
“It is said that you are the future, but in these matters, you are the present, you are those who are making the future today, in the present,” Pope Francis said.
Thousands of young people are in Milan for the Youth4Climate meeting, which is sending recommendations to the UN climate summit Cop26 in November in Glasgow, Scotland.
“I would like to thank you for your dreams and good projects, and for the fact that you are as concerned about human relations as you are about caring for the environment. Thank you,” he told the summit.
“It is a concern that is good for everyone. 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.”
The Pope has been a vocal supporter of action against global warming and could attend Cop26, depending on his health.
“Through common ideas and projects, solutions can be found to overcome energy poverty and to place the care of the common assets at the centre of national and international policy, promoting sustainable production, the circular economy and the pooling of appropriate technologies,” he said.
“It is time to take wise decisions so that we can make use of the many experiences gained in recent years, in order to make possible a culture of care, a culture of responsible sharing.”
Teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg was among those to address the summit on Tuesday, where she hit out at the empty “blah, blah, blah” promises of politicians.