In his video message, the pope praised young people for their “dreams and good projects,” as well as their concern for strengthening human relationships while safeguarding the environment.
He said: “It is a concern that is good for everyone. This vision is capable of challenging the adult world, for it reveals that you are prepared not only for action, but also for patient listening, constructive dialogue, and mutual understanding.”
“Therefore, I encourage you to combine your efforts through an extensive educational alliance to form decent, mature generations, capable of overcoming fragmentation and rebuilding the fabric of relationships so that we can achieve a more fraternal humanity.”
“It is said that you are the future, but in these matters, you are the present, you are those who are making the future today, in the present.”
The pope also sent a message on Wednesday to the fall session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, a 47-nation international organization founded in 1949 that is distinct from the European Union. The Assembly meets four times a year in Strasbourg, France.
The pope directed his message to participants in a high-level panel on “The environment and human rights: the right to a safe, healthy and sustainable environment.”
Referring to efforts to protect the environment using human rights law, he said: “The Holy See is ... convinced that every initiative of the Council of Europe should not be limited only to the geographical area of this continent, but, starting from our beloved Europe, should reach out to the whole world.”
“In this sense, the decision that the Council of Europe wants to take to create a new legal instrument to link environmental care to the respect of fundamental human rights is viewed with interest.”
“There is no more time to wait, we must act. Any instrument that respects human rights and the principles of democracy and the rule of law, fundamental values of the Council of Europe, can be useful to face this global challenge.”
The pope said that the ecological crisis should not only inspire dialogue at all levels, but also strengthen individual and collective responsibility.
“We should therefore also talk about the duties of every human being to live in a healthy, wholesome, and sustainable environment,” he said.
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“Instead, when we speak only of rights, we think only of what is due to us. We must also think about the responsibility to future generations, and the world we want to leave to our children and young people.”