Pope Francis to teenage climate activist: 'Continue' your fight

Pope Francis to teenage climate activist: 'Continue' your fight
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Pope FrancisPope FrancisPope Francis: 'No one is exempt' from helping migrants Pope 'profoundly saddened' by migrants' drowning in Rio Grande Moving into emergency mode on climate change MORE on Wednesday encouraged Swedish teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg to “continue” her fight to raise awareness on the issue.

Thunberg has gained global attention in recent months for her efforts in organizing teenager-led protests, and held a sign Wednesday reading, "Join the climate strike" while attending a speech by the pope in Vatican City, The Associated Press reported.

The 16-year-old environmental activist was seated in a VIP section in St. Peter's Square listening to the pope's speech, and he later approached her.

“Continue, continue,” Francis told her, according to the AP. “Go on, go ahead.”

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Thunberg founded the Youth Strike for Climate when she began weekly protests last year outside the Swedish Parliament to push for policies combatting climate change. She was in Italy this week to lead a “school strike” in Rome as part of the emerging youth movement she has helped spark. Last month she was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

“Thank you for standing up for the climate, for speaking the truth,” Thunberg told Pope Francis, according to the AP. “It means a lot.”

Her father, Svante Thunberg, thanked the pope and told him what he is doing “means everything," the outlet reported.

Pope Francis has been an outspoken supporter of the movement to combat climate change and has made raising awareness about the issue a staple of his papacy.

He has challenged governments around the world to address climate change and implement policies to reduce global warming.