Pope Francis Just Said the “Very Existence of the Human Species” Is Under Threat

Mary Altaffer/AP

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Pope Francis issued a stark warning to the United Nations on Friday morning, telling world leaders assembled for the General Assembly that “large-scale destruction of biodiversity can threaten the very existence of the human species.” His speech urged leaders to tackle the unfettered capitalism that he believes is the root cause of environmental destruction, and outlined a religious duty to protect the planet. He also declared a “right of the environment” alongside other fundamental rights like education, work and religious freedom.

“The ecological crisis, and the large-scale destruction of biodiversity, can threaten the very existence of the human species,” he told the General Assembly. “The baneful consequences of an irresponsible mismanagement of the global economy, guided only by ambition for wealth and power, must serve as a summons to a forthright reflection on man.”

Francis went on to commend the United Nations for its sustainability efforts, calling the upcoming summit an “important sign of hope” for climate action. Every speech the pope has made so far in the United Stats has touched in some way on taking action to protect the planet.

The leader of the Catholic Church also touched upon the church’s stance on “moral laws” on issues such as abortion, saying that “absolute respect for life in all its stages” was part and parcel of the moral fight against inequality.

Francis’ address on Friday marks the fifth time a pope has spoken before the General Assembly. For the remainder of his stay in New York, the pope is scheduled to visit the 9/11 Memorial and tour Central Park in his motorcade.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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