Pope Francis participated in a global meeting of mayors about climate change and human trafficking. His encyclical, "Laudato Si,” was a major inspiration for the mayors who attended the conference.
He explained to them that before all else, his encyclical is a social document.
"Faced with the question, I said, "No, it is not a green encyclical. It is a social encyclical because it is about the social environment, the social life of humanity. We can not separate taking care of the environment. Moreover, taking care of the environment is a social attitude.”
When the environment is treated poorly, the Pope said that the consequences affect all people. He explained that climate change, poverty, and human trafficking are all interrelated. For this reason, he said that it's important for them to take part in a global struggle.
"One of the things that you notice when the environment and Creation are not maintained is the excessive growth of cities. It is a global phenomenon. Large cities become large but increasingly surrounded by poverty. There is more suffering because of the effects of environmental neglect.”
Deforestation, the Pope said, is an example of excessive "technification.” He added that it takes the dignity of work away from people and forces them into poverty. This sort of desperation drives them into human trafficking as a way to improve their future.
Hopefully the international community will address the issue, the Pope said.
"I would say that it is necessary for the United Nations to be involved. I have high hopes for the Paris summit in November, that a fundamental and basic agreement can be reached.”
Before leaving, the Pope signed a joint declaration with more than 60 mayors. They vowed to take more steps to fight human trafficking and to make their cities more sustainable.