Pope Francis Meets With 60 Mayors From Around the World to Urge Climate Action
Pope Francis’ recent encyclical about climate change took the world by storm – but he’s not stopping there. This week, the Vatican hosted some 60 mayors from around the globe, who gathered to pledge their commitment to fighting climate change. As this New York Times article reports, in organizing this meeting, the Pope hopes to galvanize local efforts and put pressure on national leaders to take action.
Pope Francis emphasized that climate change is a social issue, and that the well-being of people and the environment are closely intertwined. Since local government leaders are more closely connected with ordinary people than national leaders, they have both a great opportunity and a moral obligation to make a difference. Many local leaders have the power to implement climate-friendly initiatives and regulations within their communities. As New York mayor Bill de Blasio said, “It’s increasingly clear that we, the local leaders of the world, have many tools, more than we may have in fact realized, and we must use them boldly even as our national governments hesitate.”
To learn more about how local leaders can take action on climate, check out our communities initiative, Path to Positive Communities.
By Gaia Pianigiani, contributor to The New York Times
About 60 mayors from around the world gathered here on Tuesday and pledged to combat global warming and help the poor deal with its effects, at a conference swiftly organized by the Vatican barely a month after Pope Francis’ sweeping encyclical on the environment.
The two-day conference, which also focused on fighting forms of modern slavery, was not the first time that the Vatican had organized a meeting on the issue. But it was the first time that it specifically invited local officials, hoping to mobilize grass-roots action and maintain pressure on world leaders for action ahead of a global summit meeting on climate change scheduled for December in Paris.
In Tuesday’s declaration, the mayors pledged to urge world leaders to pass a “bold climate agreement that confines global warming to a limit safe for humanity, while protecting the poor and the vulnerable from ongoing climate change that gravely endangers their lives.”
Image credit: AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia