By Devin Watkins
As the Church begins the annual Season of Creation on 1 September, Pope Francis is inviting everyone to pray for “an environmentally sustainable lifestyle”.
In The Pope Video for the month of September, he held up the example of young people who are environmentally conscious.
“It makes me very happy to see that young people have the courage to undertake projects for environmental and social improvement, since the two go together,” he said.
Reflection on our impact on the planet
Pope Francis added that adults can learn much from young people, since they are often at the forefront of issues “related to care for the planet.”
“Let us take advantage of their example and reflect on our lifestyle, especially during these moments of health, social and environmental crisis,” he said.
We should take the opportunity to reflect on “the way we eat, consume, travel, or the way we use water, energy, plastics, and many other material goods,” especially those which are harmful to the environment.
“Let us choose to change!” the Pope urged. “Let us advance with young people towards lifestyles that are simpler and more respectful of the environment.”
Pray to make courageous choices
Pope Francis again called on everyone to look toward young people and their commitment to their own future.
“Let us pray that we all will make courageous choices, the choices necessary for a simple and environmentally sustainable lifestyle, taking inspiration from our young people who are resolutely committed to this,” he said.
The future of the planet that young people will inherit is exactly what hangs in the balance, concluded the Pope.
Urgent action required
A statement from the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network, which prepares The Pope Video each month, pointed out that September’s prayer intention fits into a long line of invitations Pope Francis has made urging people to live more simply.
“The need for urgent action to combat the social and environmental crisis isn’t anything new,” read the statement. “There are more and more global alerts to try to raise the awareness of humanity that something must change.”
It also made reference to a UN report released in June which warned that the planet is “rapidly reaching a ‘point of no return’” and facing the triple threats of “biodiversity loss, climate disruption, and escalating pollution.”
The Pope’s insistence on integral ecology, said the statement, reminds us that “everything is interconnected in our lives” and that words are not enough to “protect our common home”.