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The pope asks young people to save the planet and find peace

Pope Francis traveled to Assisi, the hometown of his saintly namesake, where he appealed to young people in the hope that they can help save the Earth and make the world economy more attentive to the poor.

During his brief visit to the city in Italy’s mountainous center on Saturday, Francis called on new generations to have “courage” to abandon fossil fuels. He assured that he was pinning a lot of hope on young people because older generations do not know how to protect the planet and ensure peace.

The pontiff was speaking to a gathering of some 1,000 young people, some of them economists and others involved in efforts including startups focused on helping the environment.

The 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. She said they received assistance from an organization called La Economía de Francisco, which is inspired by the life of San Francisco, for its care for the poor and others in need.

The pope said that a world economy is needed that expresses “a new vision of the environment and the Earth.”

“There are many people, companies and institutions that are doing an ecological conversion. We need to move forward on this path and do more,” Francisco assured.

The pontiff cited an urgent need to debate new development models.

“Now is the time for a new courage to abandon fossil fuels in order to accelerate the development of positive or zero impact energy sources,” Francis declared.

He told the young people: “Our generation has left you a rich heritage, but we have failed to protect the planet and we are not ensuring peace.”

He lamented the lack of “creativity, optimism, enthusiasm.” He told the young people that “we are grateful to God that you are here. They will not only be there tomorrow, but they are here today.”

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