The teenage girl who spearheaded the worldwide school strikes over climate change has met Pope Francis at the Vatican. Source: SBS News.
Swedish teenage environmental activist Greta Thunberg brought her climate change campaign to the Vatican yesterday, where she met with Pope Francis and carried a sign saying “Join the climate strike”.
Greta arrived late for Francis’ general audience and took her seat in the VIP section in St Peter’s Square.
The Pope went up to her at the end of the audience, where Greta showed off her sign.
She is in Rome to headline Friday’s “school strike”, the growing worldwide youth movement she spearheaded demanding faster action against climate change.
She will also address the Italian parliament.
In Francis, Greta has found a kindred spirit. The Pope has made fighting climate change and caring for God’s creation a pillar of his papacy.
Born in Sweden in 2003, Greta rose to fame in August 2018 for initiating the “school strike for climate” movement, with her protest outside of the Swedish parliament in Stockholm gaining widespread media attention, Crux reports.
Greta’s movement exploded and has since grown into an international initiative in which students skip classes to participate in demonstrations demanding action on stopping global warming and climate change.
On March 15, some 1.4 million students were estimated to have participated in demonstrations throughout the world. The next major global strike is set for May 24.
She has continued to be a leading voice on the climate issue and has spoken at several international venues, demanding that the EU reduce CO2 emissions by at least 80 per cent if they are to meet their climate goals by 2030.
On March 13, three members of the Norwegian parliament put Greta’s name forward as a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize, which will be awarded later this year.
Though Francis has not directly referenced Greta’s movement, his own eco-agenda has been a hallmark of his papacy since the 2015 publication of his encyclical on the protection of the environment, Laudato Si’.