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The Global Catholic Climate Movement releases its practical how-to guide to help parishes bring Laudato Si’ to life

Talking about Laudato Si is one thing. Changing the status quo is another. Now with the help of the Global Catholic Climate Movement, parishes everywhere can take concrete steps to save money, be healthier, and help protect life and the garden of God that is creation.

The Eco-Parish Guide is simple to use, packed with helpful tips, loaded with real examples form real parishes around the world.

And it’s free.

GCCM’s global coordinator Tomás Insua opens the guide with some helpful context about why Catholic communities should download this guide and use it.

Parishes have an important role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions because as a Church we operate more than 220,000 parishes globally, which accounts for many times more churches, rectories, offices, other parish buildings, and vehicles that, in using conventional fossil fuels for energy, contribute directly to climate change. Energy savings of as much as ten percent can be achieved in a parish simply through conscious and continuous efforts to use less energy. With some modifications or upgrades to facilities, parishes have enjoyed savings of twenty to thirty percent, and even more in some cases. I also want to encourage parishes

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Plans are underway across the globe to keep Laudato Si’ alive well after its one-year anniversary.

International Catholic eco-groups like the Global Catholic Climate Movement want you to know about “Laudato Si’ Week,” June 12th through the 19th, and they want us all to take part. The goal is to keep the spotlight on the Holy Father’s eco-encyclical, and to continue putting it into action.

To help, the GCCM has initiated “Laudato Si Animators,” which hopes to promote the messages of Laudato Si’ and help turn it into action in our local communities, "whether that be a parish, school, religious congregation, lay group, youth organization, retreat center, Boy Scout troop, or more.”

Laudato Si Animators is intended to be a global network of Catholics “committed to bringing Laudato Si to life.” Anyone who signs up as an Animator is asked to participate in online trainings with experts and environmental leaders to help organize around Laudato Si Week events. According to the GCCM, the initial period will be focused on organizing at least one Laudato Si' event in your community as part of Laudato Si Week.

Events can take the form of a workshop, prayer service, study group, nature walk, or a community service project.

Ensuring that Laudato...

There’s a reminder in Laudato Si’ that we must keep front and center this Earth Day and every day

There will be lots of Earth Day events and lots of words written about them. One of the most significant happenings is the signing by a great many faith representatives of the Interfaith Climate Statement to World Leaders. The goal of this show of unity is to keep civil leaders moving forward on the promises made at COP21.

From this international blockbuster of an event to the many local trash cleanups and rallies, talks and prayer services around the world, there is a common theme that must be acknowledged and amplified. This theme was presented in pithy form by Pope Francis in Laudato Si’, and I suggest we keep it front in center in our work.

We know that a lot has happened since Earth Day 2015. Think about it. In a few weeks we’ll be celebrating the one-year anniversary of the issuance of Laudato Si’. In that year many have carried its message forward on college campuses, in businesses, in parishes, and in daily life. This culminated in Paris at COP21, where the voice of the Church and of all faiths helped push those talks further than they have gone in two decades. In all,...

NASA scientist and Catholic Climate Covenant ambassador Anthony Strawa knows why we should be concerned about climate change, and why we have hope

He’s an atmospheric scientist and director of the New Opportunities Center at NASA’s Ames Research Center. He served some thirteen years heading up NASA’s Aerosol and Microphysics Group and is a past associate editor of the Journal of Aerosol Science.

He is also the chair of the Diocese of San Jose’s Catholic Green Initiative and a Climate Ambassador for the US-based Catholic Climate Covenant.

Suffice it to say, Anthony Strawa knows what happens to planet Earth when pollution—particularly particulates—fouls our atmosphere, especially as a result of burning of fossil fuels. He also knows what this means for people of faith—especially for his brothers and sisters in the Catholic Church.

Anthony Strawa

“I felt for a long time that this is really a moral issue,” Strawa told Catholic Ecology last week. “For some time when I talked about climate change, I did so from mostly a scientific perspective, and did not get the response I hoped. But when I started talking about it as more of a theological or moral issue, I seemed to have connected a little more with folks.”

Strawa said that the language of...

Pope Francis’s just released apostolic exhortation on the family has much in common with last year’s eco-encyclical

Pope Francis’s long-awaited and beautifully written apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia, or “The Joy of Love,” has some desperately looking for a disavowal of Catholic moral teachings on marriage and sexuality while others are rightly stressing that there is no such disavowal. What many seem to be missing in the midst of all this is the link between Amoris Laetitia and the 2015 blockbuster eco-encyclical Laudato Si’.

This link is the frank admission that a good many of our eco-problems and our social and personal ones are of our own making—and that they are rooted in the same human weaknesses. The good news is that the ways beyond all these struggles are united, too.

Here, from Amoris Laetitia, is a rather important and somewhat overlooked passage:

We treat affective relationships the way we treat material objects and the environment: everything is disposable; everyone uses and throws away, takes and breaks, exploits and squeezes to the last drop. Then, goodbye. Narcissism makes people incapable of looking beyond themselves, beyond their own desires and needs. Yet sooner or later, those who use others end up being used themselves, manipulated and discarded by that same mind-set.

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The past few months offer hints about how Rome will continue hammering home the wisdom of the eco-encyclical

With Holy Week and international crises—from terrorism to the care for emigrants—taking center stage these past weeks in the life of the Church, there is nonetheless a quiet ramp up to the one-year anniversary of the issuance of Laudato Si’. For clues about what’s in store these next few weeks, we need only look back at the first three months of 2016—especially to the whirlwind of activity by Ghana’s Cardinal Peter Turkson and others who have been largely responsible for maintaining the momentum of the Holy Father’s eco-encyclical.

Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, has spoken this past year especially to audiences in North America—a region of the world with an abundance of wealth, resources, and appetites. While the ongoing presence in the Global North of a cardinal from the Global South is telling in itself, what he’s been saying has gotten the attention of many.

“Cardinal Turkson’s continuing to promote Laudato Si’ in the United States is truly a gift,” Dr. Jame Schaefer told Catholic Ecology last month. Schaefer, of Marquette University, has been on the front lines this past year in helping unpack the Church's eco-teachings.

“As someone who...

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About the Blog

Catholic Ecology posts my regular column in the Rhode Island Catholic, as well as scientific and theological commentary about the latest eco-news, both within and outside of the Catholic Church. What is contained herein is but one person's attempt to teach and defend the Church's teachings - ecological and otherwise. As such, I offer all contents of this blog for approval of the bishops of the Church. It is my hope that nothing herein will lead anyone astray from truth.