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SAN DIEGO–Religious and social leaders around San Diego are hearing the Pope’s call for climate change loud and clear.

“Climate change is a problem that can no longer be left to a future generation. I’m convinced we can make a difference. I’m sure of it.”

In front of a global stage, Pope Francis took the bold step of supporting President Obama’s call for climate change, urging America to use great innovation and leadership.

Before Congress Thursday, the Pope said this would take “courageous effort.”

With our children’s futures on the line, those here in San Diego took the Pope’s words to heart acting quickly. Organizers with the environmental nonprofit “SanDiego 350” called an interfaith forum Thursday evening in banker’s hill.  More than 300 religious and social leaders packed St. Paul’s episcopal cathedral. They signed a

Letter vowing to answer the pope’s call for what he’s dubbed “integral ecology.”

“We share not only the plight of the planet but also the persons on the planet.

We look at everything together and that’s the rallying points for the faiths and also for community workers as well,” said speaker

Rev. Dr. Beth Johnson with the Palomar Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.

As the Pope points out, those causing the least environmental impact–the global poor–are most vulnerable to global climate change.  For example, here in San Diego, our recent heat wave affected those who couldn’t afford air conditioning the most.

“What the Pope said really makes the case for why we need to address climate change and why it’s a moral cause and tied to social and economic justice,” said organizer
Masada Disenhouse.

Environmental expert Pat Abbot adds, “the pope is using a different rallying cry to drum up support for many who may have gone deaf to the global issue”.

“It’s interesting to see the Pope come in from another direction. To speak from his overriding concern with ethics and morality and a concern for every human being on the planet. From there he then accepts the science global warming.”

One of the first local initiatives will be to install solar panels on low income housing, saving money and energy.