(CBS) — Chicago Archbishop Blase Cupich said it is “an unmistakable fact that our environment is in peril,” and called Thursday for Catholics and non-Catholics alike to heed Pope Francis and work to combat climate change.

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“We see the assault on the environment as a fundamental matter of right and wrong,” Cupich told reporters and an invited group of like-minded clergy representing a variety of religions.

He said the Archdiocese is attempting to lead by example, lowering its carbon footprint, despite owning a number of buildings that are 100 or more years old.

Cupich urged Chicagoans to recycle and avoid the use of plastics and to refrain from wasting food.

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“Pope Francis is offering us brave thoughts today,” Cupich said. “He’s saying things that need to be said. He’s pointing out actions that need to be taken.”

The other religious leaders who heard Cupich speak were pleased.

“It’s hard to identify a more direct challenge to our way of life than what is made in this encyclical and the Archbishop’s summary of it,” said Rev. Paul Rutgers, the Presbyterian co-chairman of the Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago.

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Both Cupich and Rutgers said they expect pushback from skeptics.