Pope Francis is a long-time advocate for the environment, and has called for sustainability to be a core part of the Christian faith.

“God gave us a bountiful garden, but we have turned it into a polluted wasteland of debris, desolation and filth,” said Pope Francis after the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation.

The Pope has also talked about the connection between the climate and the world’s most vulnerable people — those living in poverty on coastal regions and current victims of the refugee crisis.

“Climate change is also contributing to the heart-rending refugee crisis,” said Pope Francis. "The world’s poor, though least responsible for climate change, are most vulnerable and already suffering its impact."

Read More: This is the Gift Leonardo DiCaprio Gave to Fellow Climate Champion, Pope Francis

Over 3,500 churches in the UK took the Pope’s message to heart and announced plans to fully switch or invest in renewable energy.  

Those ditching fossil fuels includes the majority of the UK’s Salvation Army locations, Quaker meeting houses, and more than 2,000 churches owned by the Catholic church.

Plans to go greener include installing solar panels, getting energy from wind turbines, and sourcing heating and electricity from cleaner energy sources for those who cannot currently afford installing their own renewable energy systems in the building.

These types of changes are easily done, but people are often unaware of their feasibility. Even for those renting, you can alway choose where your electricity comes from and opt for environmentally friendly sources like wind or solar power.

Read More: Pope Francis Invites Refugees to Join Him on the Steps of St. Peter's

As the Pope urges everyone to do their part to protect the environment, it’s great to see many take action. There are as many as 50,000 buildings in the UK owned by the Catholic dioceses, according to the Guardian. Hopefully, the full portfolio follows the example of the 3,500 reducing their carbon footprints.

“We should not think that our efforts – even our small gestures – don’t matter,” added Peter Turkson, president of the Vatican’s council for peace and justice.

By taking action on Global Citizen, you will have a chance to win tickets to this year's in New York City on Sept. 24, 2016.

Ready to take action?


Defend the Planet

Pope Urges Climate Action, 3,500 UK Churches Switch to Renewable Energy

By Meghan Werft