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An 'Urgent Appeal' for Collective Action on Climate Change

Pope Francis’ encyclical on climate change was delivered today to the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics. Religious groups and the broader climate community are celebrating this watershed statement as a call to action that transcends traditional boundaries.

In the encyclical, Pope Francis calls for “a new dialogue … and a new and universal solidarity” to “protect our common home.” His message is hopeful saying “we know that things can change.” He specifically reaches out to the broader environmental community to “recognize, encourage and thank all those striving in countless ways to guarantee the protection of the home we share.” Pope Francis places special emphasis on the impact of climate change “on the world’s poorest” speaking of the “inseparable bond between concern for nature, justice for the poor, commitment to society and interior peace.”

Most of all, in today’s announcement Pope Francis “urgently appeals” for greater cooperation and bold action from world leaders fit for the scale of our challenge. At the same time, he calls on all of us to do our part and to avoid “indifference, nonchalant resignation or blind confidence in technical solutions.”

Today’s announcement already is reverberating around the world. WWF is working with members of the Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM), who help explain how Pope Francis’ message can drive global collaborative action on one of the most pressing issues we face today:

Patrick Carolan, Executive Director, Franciscan Action Network, United States:
Pope Francis continues to show that he wants the Church to take the lead when it comes to the climate crisis, from the start of his papacy when he chose the name Francis, to today, starting his encyclical by quoting the Canticle of Creatures, it’s clear that the Pope believes that the environment is one of the most pressing issues of our day and that we all must work together to find solutions to this problem.

Dr. Pablo Canziani, Acción Católica Argentina:
Pope Francis´ encyclical, with his strong focus on integral ecology, proposes the necessary and urgent paradigm change that is required not just in Latin America but globally. It is a far more profound issue than small-minded political debates. We are all questioned and asked to change, to make sacrifices for the most vulnerable: the expelled members of our societies and the mutilated environment. This is necessary so that we may all live.

Allen Ottaro, Founding Executive Director, Catholic Youth Network for Environmental Sustainability in Africa (CYNESA):
Africa, the continent with one of the youngest populations, rich in natural resources will also be hardest hit by climate change. Its limited adaptive capacity is threatened by widespread poverty. This is why the encyclical from Pope Francis, 'Laudato Si' is so important. Pope Francis draws attention to the plight of the poor among us and our relationship with all of creation. Young people connected through CYNESA, commit themselves to living the message of Laudato Si, by making it our own.