“The Earth must be worked and nursed, cultivated and protected,” said Pope Francis in a new TED Talk from Vatican City. “We cannot continue to squeeze it like an orange.”
On Saturday, the pope joined in the launch of Countdown — a new climate initiative from TED and Future Stewards — to call on people around the world, Christian or otherwise, to take action on climate change. One piece of advice? Divest from companies that aren’t working to protect our “common home.”
In the TED Talk, Pope Francis’s second, he followed up his call to action with three concrete steps he’d like to see implemented, including better education about the environment, access to sustainable food and clean water, and the replacement of fossil fuels with clean energy (in his words, “a gradual replacement, but without delay”). On the latter point, he was specific about where he believes people should (and shouldn’t) invest.
“One way to encourage this change is to lead companies towards the urgent need to commit to the integral care of our common home, excluding from investments companies that do not meet the parameters … and rewarding those that [do],” he said.
“We are faced with the moral imperative and the practical urgency to rethink many things: the way we produce; the way we consume; our culture of waste; our short-term vision; the exploitation of the poor and our indifference towards them; the growing inequalities and our dependence on harmful energy sources,” he added. “We need to think about all these challenges.”
Pope Francis has made the climate crisis an integral part of his message for years. Back in 2015, he published the encyclical Laudato si’ in which he criticized consumerism, wasteful consumption and environmental destruction, and called for immediate global action on pollution and climate change.
For the Countdown launch event, the pope joined speakers ranging from Prince William to Al Gore to Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr, the mayor of Freetown, Sierra Leone. The TED Talks coincided with the debut of Count Us In, an initiative to inspire one billion people to take concrete action on climate change.
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