VATICAN CITY — In a video message sent to a climate summit on Thursday, Pope Francis urged care for nature and the preservation of the environment.

“I greet you who are gathered in this initiative, which seems to me a happy one,” the pope said April 22 to participants in a climate summit of 40 international leaders that was organized by US president Joe Biden.

Francis said the summit encourages humanity “to take charge of the care of nature, of this gift that we have received and that we have to heal, guard, and carry forward. This is increasingly significant because it is a challenge we face in the post-pandemic era. We need to keep moving forward and we know that one doesn’t come out of a crisis the same way one entered. We come out either better or worse.”

“Our concern is to see that the environment is cleaner, purer, and preserved. We must take care of nature so that it takes care of us.”

During the summit, held on Earth Day, Biden pledged that the US would cut its carbon emissions to about half of 2005 levels by 2030.

In an earlier message marking Earth Day, Pope Francis had urged world leaders to “act with courage, operate with justice, and always tell the truth to people” with regard to the environment.

Francis said that for some time people have been more aware of the need to protect nature, and that interactions with the biodiversity given to us by God must take place “with the utmost attention and respect.”