Pope Francis has challenged world leaders to “listen to the cry of the earth.” The Pope has a strong belief in the science of climate change, and he is challenging those with leadership influence to “listen to the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor, who suffer most because of the unbalanced ecology.”
Pope Francis will join Patriarch Bartholomew I, who is the head of the Orthodox Christian Church, and they will issue a joint message commemorating the annual “World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation” on Friday.
In 2015, the Pope designated September 1st as “a precious opportunity to renew our personal participation in this vocation as custodians of creation.” At the core of this appointed day is the belief that preserving the environment is a moral responsibility.
Patriarch Bartholomew, who supported Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical on the environment, said:
“There has never been so much turmoil on our planet, but there has never been greater opportunity for communication, cooperation, and dialogue. Basic human rights such as access to water, clean air, and sufficient food should be available to everyone without distinction or discrimination. We are convinced that we cannot separate our concern for human dignity, human rights or social justice from the concern for ecological preservation and sustainability.”
Pope Francis has a history of pushing for strong climate action. When President Trump visited the Vatican in May, the pontiff gave him a copy of the climate encyclical. This came just as the president was considering whether the U.S. would leave the Paris climate agreement. President Trump is known as a climate skeptic who does not share Pope Francis firmly held beliefs. President Trump eventually did not receive the Pope’s message, and he withdrew from the Paris climate agreement a month later.
Do you agree with the Pope? Is climate change really both the “cry of the earth and the cry of the poor?”