An international conference was held in Rome in July to mark the third anniversary of Pope Francis’ landmark encyclical, “Laudato si’: On Care for our Common Home.” The two-day conference focused on the theme “Saving our Common Home and the Future of Life on Earth.”

Pope Francis noted the “increasingly accurate assessments” of the scientific community concerning the environment. “There is a real danger that we will leave future generations only rubble, deserts, and refuse,” he said.”

But he expressed his hope that “concern for the state of our common home” would be translated into concrete actions to preserve the environment. In particular, he called on governments to honour their commitments to the 2015 Paris Agreement “in order to avoid the worst consequences of the climate crisis.” The COP24 Summit, he said, “could prove a milestone on the path set out” by the Agreement.

The Pope also mentioned the Global Climate Action Summit, taking place in San Francisco in September, while urging the support of “citizens’ pressure groups” to provide support he stated that, financial institutions also “have an important role to play, as part both of the problem and its solution.”

“All of these actions,” Pope Francis said, “presuppose a transformation on a deeper level, namely a change of hearts and minds.” He reiterated Pope St John Paul’s calls for an “ecological conversion,” and emphasised the role of religions, and especially Christianity, in working to that end.

He expressed his gratitude for the efforts of participants “in the service of care for creation and a better future for our children and grandchildren.” Despite the presence of special interests which make those efforts seem “arduous,” Pope Francis encouraged them, saying:

Please continue to work for ‘the radical change which present circumstances require.’ For ‘injustice is not invincible.’