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Mayor Meets Pope

7/29/2015, 3:13 p.m.
Mayor Hales joined 60 mayors from around the world in Italy last week, attending Pope Francis' international summit on Modern ...
Mayors from around the world, including Portland Mayor Charlie Hales, and experts in sustainability and curbing modern slavery meet with Pope Francis in Rome. Pontifical Academy of the Sciences

Mayor Hales joined 60 mayors from around the world in Italy last week, attending Pope Francis' international summit on Modern Slavery and Climate Change: The Commitment of Cities.

It was the first time the Vatican has mobilized local officials for grass-roots action on climate change and its detrimental effects on marginalized people. The pope and mayors signed a declaration stating that "human-induced climate change is a scientific reality and its effective control is a moral imperative for humanity."

Mayor Hales said the summit was invigorating for mayors who are lobbying national governments to act on climate change and inequality.

"We mayors can share practical ideas, and we have this new energy provided by the pope's message, that this is a moral and an ethical issue — not just a political issue. This gathering gives us energy in the fight we have to take on."