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  • Climate activist Greta Thunberg meets Pope Francis at Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican, April 17, 2019.

    Climate activist Greta Thunberg meets Pope Francis at Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican, April 17, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 18 April 2019

Pope Francis told the environmental activist to "go along, go ahead.'

The Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg addressed Thursday the Italian Senate and demanded concrete actions against global climate change just a day after she met Pope Francis after his weekly audience at Saint Peter's Square.

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"Thank you for standing up for the climate and speaking the truth. It means a lot," she told Francis, as reported by DW, which mentioned that the Argentinean Pope responded “God bless you, continue to work, continue. Go along, go ahead."

Pope Francis's reaction was expected given that he had previously made comments in line with Thunberg’s cause. In a 2015 document, the Catholic Supreme priest also called for reducing fossil fuels and using clean energy.

Thunberg visited Thursday the Italian Senate where she criticized politicians because "nothing is being done to stop" the most important environmental problem.

"When I travel around the world I often meet important people who congratulate me and [smile]... it is strange because I honestly don't know what they are happy about", she said.

While the Italian senators applauded her speech many times, the Swedish teenager did not change her speech's tone.

""We are not sacrificing our education and our childhood for you to tell us what you to consider politically possible in the society you have created,"  Thunberg stressed and pointed out that "we have not taken to the streets for you to take selfies with us and tell us you really admire what we do... We are doing this to get you to act."

She recalled that "when one wants to do it, one can do it", an attitude which has been demonstrated in the reconstruction of Europe after WWII or the fundraising to rebuild Notre Dame.

Thunberg also criticized the politicians' usual lack of interest in environmental problems and asked senators to support scientists.

"You don't want to listen to science because you only want to listen to solutions that allow you to continue as before," she said and warned that "that is not possible and, like it or not, change is coming."

Greta will join the "Friday for Future" rally at the People's Square, where 120 bikes will generate energy to shine a light on musical, visual, poetic and artistic activities. The scenario will include a "thread for the climate", a rope on which people will hang messages conveying their emotions.

Italy's Minister of Environment Sergio Costa announced that he is looking for a meeting with the Swedish activist. "What she is doing is very important... she represents all the young people of the world and, therefore, also the young Italians," he said, as reported by ANSA.

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