I was in Rome today, working with thousands of leaders from different faith traditions who marched through Rome demanding climate action. We entered into St. Peter’s Square minutes before Pope Francis delivered his weekly prayer.
The marchers were accompanied by giant banners, dozens of giant bird kites flying overhead, as well signs that said “Fossil Fuels are From Hell!” and “Wind and Solar are from the Heavens!” Quotes from the Pope’s Encyclical on Climate Change, “Laudito Si,” were emblazoned on liturgical banners, declaring “The world owes a social debt to the poor!” and “We must reject magical conceptions of the market.”
A local organization of migrants from African nations living in Rome created a boat with a sail that read: “Migrant Lives Matter!” — calling out the harsh, unjust treatment of migrants throughout Europe. They were accompanied by another boat that referenced economic inequality, reading “Same Planet, Different Boat” in English and Italian.
The marchers handed out thousands of green leaves with quotes from different faith traditions, including Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism, demanding that humanity act to protect nature and address social justice.
When the Pope appeared at his window above St. Peter’s Square, he praised the marchers directly, lauding them for taking action to protect “our common home.”