· Vatican City ·

A real change of course is urgently needed

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01 October 2021

We need “an educational process that promotes a cultural model of development and sustainability, centred on fraternity and on the alliance between human beings and the environment”, Pope Francis said in a video message, sent on Wednesday, 29 September, to participants in a seminar on the promotion of sustainable education in the context of Youth4Climate: Driving Ambition, held in Milan, Italy from 28 September to 30 September. The following is a translation of the Holy Father’s message which he shared in Spanish with participants in the encounter organized by Italy in the framework of the British-Italian co-presidency of COP26.

Dear young people,

I would like to thank you for your dreams and for your projects of goodness, and for the fact that you are as concerned about human relations as you are about caring for the environment. Thank you. It is a concern that is good for everyone. This vision is capable of challenging the adult world, for it not only reveals that you are prepared for action, but that you are also open to patient listening, constructive dialogue and mutual understanding.

Therefore, I encourage you to combine your efforts through an extensive educational alliance to form generations that are well founded in good, mature, 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 building the future today, in the present. The Global Compact on Education — which was launched in 2019 — goes in this direction and seeks to provide shared responses to the historical change that humanity is experiencing and that has been made even more evident by the pandemic. Technical and political solutions are not enough if they are not supported by the responsibility of each member and by an educational process that promotes a cultural model of development and sustainability, centred on fraternity and on the alliance between human beings and the environment. There must be harmony between people, men and women, and the environment. We are not enemies: we are not indifferent. We are part of this cosmic harmony.

Through common ideas and projects, solutions can be found to overcome energy poverty and to place the care of common goods at the centre of national and international policies, promoting sustainable production, circular economy, and the sharing of appropriate technologies. It is time to take wise decisions so that we can make use of the many experiences gained in recent years, in order to make possible a culture of care, a culture of responsible sharing.

I accompany your journey and I encourage you to carry out your work for the good of humanity. God bless you all. Thank you.