Pope’s call to eat less meat welcomed by teenage climate activist

20 July 2022

Climate activist and ProVeg Youth Board member, Genesis Butler, 15, says Pope’s call is “step in the right direction”


The call made by Pope Francis this month for young people to eat less meat to help the environment has been welcomed as a “step in the right direction” by 15-year-old climate activist Genesis Butler

Speaking to young people at the EU Youth Conference in Prague, in the Czech Republic, last week, Pope Francis told young people to “aspire to a life of dignity and sobriety, without luxury and waste, so that everyone in our world can enjoy a dignified existence”.

Referring to the urgent need to reduce consumption, Pope Francis told his audience: “In certain areas of the world, too, it would be appropriate to consume less meat: this too can help save the environment.”

“It’s great to hear Pope Francis call on young people to reduce the amount of meat they eat,” Genesis said. “He is such an influential voice in the world and many people take what he says really seriously. So I was glad he spoke out and I think it’s a step in the right direction,” she added.

Genesis has been to the Vatican before when she travelled there in 2019 to offer to donate $1million to a charity of the Pope’s choice, as part of the Million Dollar Vegan campaign, if Pope Francis switched to a plant-based diet during Lent.

Whilst the Pope did not go vegan for Lent, he did respond through a letter signed by a senior priest expressing his gratitude to the teenager for her care for the Earth.

Though young, Genesis has been a campaigner for plant-based diets for a number of years. She became one of the youngest people ever to give a TEDx talk when she delivered “A 10-year-old’s vision for healing the planet”, discussing the impact of animal agriculture on the planet. 

She later went on to found the Youth Climate Save and this year joined ProVeg International’s Youth Board to promote the Diet Change Not Climate Change campaign, which is part of the ProVeg mission to reduce global meat consumption by 50% by 2050.

Reducing meat consumption is a growing policy priority because global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from animal agriculture are twice those from plant-based diets. The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, published in April this year, also called for a shift to plant-based diets to tackle climate change.



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About ProVeg International

ProVeg is an international food awareness organisation working to transform the global food system by replacing conventional animal-based products with plant-based and cultured alternatives.

ProVeg works with international decision-making bodies, governments, food producers, investors, the media, and the general public to help the world transition to a society and economy that are less dependent on animal agriculture and more sustainable for humans, animals, and our planet.

ProVeg has permanent-observer status with the UNFCCC, is accredited for UNEA, and has received the United Nations’ Momentum for Change Award.