Environmental activists carry a banner June 18 as they march toward a Roman Catholic church to coincide with Pope Francis’s encyclical on climate change in Manila, Philippines. In a high-level, 190-page document, Francis describes ongoing human damage to nature as “one small sign of the ethical, cultural and spiritual crisis of modernity.” The solution, he says, will require self-sacrifice and a “bold cultural revolution” worldwide. (Bullit Marquez/AP)
Several environmental groups are planning a major climate rally that will draw hundreds of thousands to the National Mall on Sept. 24, the day Pope Francis speaks to Congress and is expected to address the public afterwards.
The permit for the gathering — which will make the moral case for reducing greenhouse gas emissions linked to global warming — is for 200,000 people. The Moral Action on Climate Network, along with the Earth Day Network, League of Conservation Voters, Sierra Club and other groups, have timed the rally on the Mall the same day of the pope’s speech. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has said the pope “has expressed an interest” in making an appearance on the Capitol’s West Front.
While there has been no official confirmation of formal remarks, Francis is known for making impromptu changes to his itineraries. Federal officials have indicated that the pope is likely to speak for a few minutes to those gathered before the Capitol.