Pope Thanks and Encourages Greta Thunberg in Her Commitment to Defend the Environment

April 17, 2019

As Greta Thunberg said, climate change doesn’t take a day off, so she is in Rome during her school vacation, talking again about climate change (always traveling by surface not be air).

Two-thirds of global heating thus far has occurred since 1975.  NASA scientists point out that “A one-degree global change is significant because it takes a vast amount of heat to warm all the oceans, atmosphere, and land by that much” and another .5 is in the pipeline for release in the next 30-40 years, currently stored in the oceans.

For all of human development until this past century, the proportion of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere ranged between 200 and generally 280 parts per million. By the 1950s the growth of industrial capitalism since the 1800s had pushed this to the top of this range — 310 parts per million. Since then the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has risen very rapidly — to more than 410 parts per million by 2018, as a result of fossil fuel burning.  Cost-shifting, dumping, and taking what belongs to others/all has been an essential part of this, privatization of land and dumping pollution in air and water (with over 7 million early deaths each year worldwide) in violation of the universal destination of good, which is part of our Catholic teaching,  as well as the commandment “do not kill.”  Hundreds of millions more worldwide suffer the threat of exposure now and the decisions we make in the next 5-10 years will affect an estimated trillion people into the future.

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Meeting in the General Audience, by Rosa die Alcole, Pope Thanks and Encourages Greta Thunberg in Her Commitment to Defend the Environment, Zenit, 17 April 2019 © Vatican Media

In the General Audience this morning, held in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis “thanked and encouraged Greta Thunberg in her commitment to defending the environment,” said Alessandro Gisotti in the Press Office this Wednesday, April 17, 2019.

The young Swedish activist, who asked to meet him, thanked the Pope for his commitment in favor of the care of Creation,” pointed out the Director ad interim of the Vatican Press Office.

In fact, the Pontiff’s second encyclical, Laudato Si’, published by the Holy See on May 24, 2015, is dedicated to the care of Creation and of our Common Home. “With the encyclical Laudato Si’ I have called the attention of humanity and of the Church on the most urgent questions related to the care of our common home and to the present and future of the peoples that inhabit it. The problems of the destruction of the natural environment are ever more grave, and the consequences on people’s lives are dramatic,” said the Pontiff.

Greta Thunberg in Rome

The 16-year-old Swedish activist is in Rome these days to take part on Good Friday morning, April 19, in a rally on climate in the Piazza del Popolo with the young people of “Fridays for Future” Rome.

On April 14, Greta wrote on her Twitter page @GretaThunberg: “On the way to the European Parliament, to the Italian Senate, to the Vatican and to Parliament during the Holy Week vacations, adding that on Friday “I will take part in the school strike in Rome. I know it is a legal holiday but as the climate crisis doesn’t take vacations, neither do we.”

European Parliament

 On Tuesday, April 16, Greta intervened in the European Parliament’s Environment Commission. She arrived in Strasbourg, France, by train from Stockholm, Sweden. The Swedish activist never travels by plane to reduce gas emissions related to her trips and thus not contribute to the greenhouse effect.

Greta Thunberg is known for her initiative “Fridays for Future,” launched in August 2018. It’s a movement organized by adolescents, which laments the inaction of policies in the face of global warming. It’s a rally to be manifested at the global level in the principal cities and capitals of the world. The young activist usually takes part in these rallies, in the measure of her possibilities.