Pope Francis delivered a speech for Earth Day Wednesday, offering an impassioned plea for people to protect the environment, praising climate change activists who "take to the streets," and saying "natural tragedies" like the COVID-19 pandemic are a result of mankind "sinning against the Earth."
The pope, who has made environmentalism and climate change a central theme of his tenure, said:
"We see these natural tragedies, which are the Earth's response to our maltreatment. I think that if I ask the Lord now what he thinks about this, I don't think he would say it is a very good thing. It is we who have ruined the work of God. . . .
We have sinned against the Earth, against our neighbor and, in the end, against the creator."
Francis also praised climate change activists, saying it was necessary for young people to "take to the streets to teach us what is obvious, that is, that there will be no future for us if we destroy the environment that sustains us".
He also again invoked a Spanish saying, "God always forgives, humans forgive sometimes, but nature never forgives."
Partial clip of Pope Francis's speech: