ASSISI, Italy — Pope Francis, visiting Assisi, the birthplace of his saintly namesake who was close to nature, on Saturday called for “courage” to give up fossil fuels and lamented that older generations don’t know how to protect the planet and ensure peace,
He told the young people that he pinned his hopes on their efforts to save the planet and make the global economy more pro-poor.
During his brief visit to the hill town in central Italy on Saturday, Francis addressed a gathering of some 1,000 young people, including some young economists. Others are involved in efforts, including start-ups, focused on helping the environment.
Participants came from all over the world. Among them was a woman who told the pope how she and her husband were helped to flee Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover last year by an organization called The Economy of Francis, which is inspired by the life of Saint Francis, with his attention to the poor and other needy.
The pope said there needs to be a global economy that expresses “a new vision for the environment and the Earth”.
“There are many people, companies and institutions that are making an ecological conversion. We need to move forward on this path and do more,” Francis said.
The pontiff cited an urgent need to discuss development models.
“Now is the time to show new courage in moving away from fossil fuels to accelerate the development of zero- or positive-impact energy sources,” Francis said.
He told the young people: “Our generation has left you a rich legacy, but we have failed to protect the planet and we are not ensuring peace.
He lamented a lack of “creativity, optimism, enthusiasm” and told the young people that “we are grateful to God that you are here. Not only will you be here tomorrow, but you are here today.