Today is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, and it’s being championed by an unlikely public figure — Pope Francis.

The pope, who has been refreshingly supportive of climate initiatives, praised the environmental movement, and encouraged young people who took “to the streets to teach us what is obvious, that is, that there will be no future for us if we destroy the environment that sustains us.”

In 2015 the pope wrote a major encyclical defending nature and warning against the dangers of climate change, and has since been a staunch, outspoken advocate of taking action against global warming.

Francis believes that God is frowning upon humanity for our treatment of the planet. “We see these natural tragedies, which are the Earth’s response to our maltreatment,” he said. “I think that if I ask the Lord now what he thinks about this, I don’t think he would say it is a very good thing. It is we who have ruined the work of God.”

He added, “We have sinned against the Earth, against our neighbor and, in the end, against the creator.”

Citing the coronavirus pandemic as evidence that some issues require a worldwide response to solve effectively, the pope called upon the global community to unite around this common crisis.