‘Consume Less Meat’ to Save the Planet

ROME — Pope Francis urged European youth this week to eat less meat as a means of curbing global warming and preserving the planet.

“There is an urgent need to reduce the consumption not only of fossil fuels but also of so many superfluous things,” the pontiff told participants in an EU youth conference Monday. “In certain areas of the world, too, it would be appropriate to consume less meat: this too can help save the environment.”

The pope encouraged the young people to embrace a life of simplicity and austerity as a means of being ecologically responsible.

“May you aspire to a life of dignity and sobriety, without luxury and waste, so that everyone in our world can enjoy a dignified existence,” he told them.

“Don’t let yourselves be seduced by the sirens that propose a life of luxury reserved for a small slice of the world,” he said. “Instead, have that ‘broad outlook’ that can take in all the rest of humanity, which is much bigger than our little continent.”

In his address, the pope also urged the young people to read his encyclical letter on the environment Laudato Si to find “solid motivations” for committing to “an integral ecology.”

The future of the planet is in the hands of young people, Francis said, and only they can reverse the current path of environmental self-destruction.

More than ever, this is the right time for “concrete initiatives” to save the planet, he declared.

“If you do not succeed in turning this self-destructive trend around, it will be difficult for others to do so in the future,” he warned.

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