This week, Pope Francis asked the youth of Europe to consume less meat in order to slow global warming and protect the environment.
The pontiff reminded attendees of an EU youth gathering on Monday that it was vital to minimise the use of both fossil fuels and numerous unnecessary items.
He also said that it would be appropriate in some parts of the world to eat less meat because doing so can also benefit the environment.
The pope exhorted the youth to adopt a life of poverty and simplicity as a way to practise ecological responsibility.
He encouraged them, saying, “May you aspire to a life of dignity and sobriety, without luxury and waste, so that everyone in our world can enjoy a dignified existence,”
“Don’t let yourselves be seduced by the sirens that propose a life of luxury reserved for a small slice of the world,” he said. “Instead, have that ‘broad outlook’ that can take in all the rest of humanity, which is much bigger than our little continent.”
The pope also asked young people to read Laudato Si, his environmental encyclical letter, in order to find “strong motives” for committing to “an entire ecosystem.”
Francis claimed that young people hold the key to the planet’s destiny and are the only ones with the power to turn back the current trend of environmental disaster.
He proclaimed that now more than ever is the time for “concrete initiatives” to save the earth.
“If you do not succeed in turning this self-destructive trend around, it will be difficult for others to do so in the future,” he warned.