Food for Thought Friday: Pope Francis’s latest apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia: On Love in the Family, focuses on Church teaching on morality and sexuality; however, as Catholic Ecology writes, Amoris Laetitia and Laudato Si’ are “united by the same truths”, for example, in criticizing the throwaway culture. For an interesting article on the link between Amoris Laetitia and Laudato Si’, read the Catholic Ecology post here!
From food packaging and clothing, to pipes and hospital equipment, plastic is a part of our daily lives. To help counteract the negative effects of ubiquitous plastic use, it is helpful to reduce or eliminate our dependence on single-use plastic such as water bottles, grocery bags, and straws. As part of their commitment to care for our common home, Catholic Rural Life challenges us to make the month of July Plastic Free. Participants are challenged to avoid single-use plastic products, including shopping bags, cups, straws, and packaging.
Read more and accept the challenge on the Plastic Free July website.
The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education invites all students interested in promoting and enacting sustainability efforts at their campuses to join them for their annual Student Summit. Taking place October 9-12, 2016, the Summit will give participants the opportunity to explore career options in sustainability and ways to enact concrete change on their campuses. Attendees will also be able to network and collaborate not only with peers, but also with professional leaders in sustainability, as well as sustainability activists.
Cosponsored by a host of organizations and initiatives such as The Campus Kitchens Project and Fair Trade Colleges and Universities, the Summit is sure to be a wonderful opportunity for students to learn and explore, and to grow in their leadership skills. Be sure to register by July 15, 2016!
How does your college or university promote sustainability? Let us know!
For the one-year anniversary of Laudato Si’, Catholic Climate Covenant invites us to join them in showing the world how we’ve been Inspired by Laudato Si’. Here’s how some members of the ACCU staff have been inspired:
The ACCU staff have been inspired by Laudato Si’ to conserve water in the office:
Laudato Si’ inspires the ACCU staff to use reusable water bottles or glasses instead of plastic water bottles:
Laudato Si’ inspires ACCU Vice President, Tom Mans, to take the Metro (even now!):
How have you been inspired by Laudato Si‘? Join the campaign!
- Download either the “Inspired by Laudato Si’, I have…” or the “Inspired by Laudato Si’, I will…” campaign card.
- Fill-in the card with an action you took that was inspired by the encyclical or an action you will take because of the Pope’s call to care for our common home. For examples, like taking the St. Francis Pledge, see CCC’s website.
- Take a photo of you holding your card.
- Post the photo to your Facebook or Twitter. Remember to include the hashtag #CreationCare and to challenge your friends and family by tagging them.
With the one-year anniversary of the release of Laudato Si’ approaching, Catholic Climate Covenant will be hosting an informative webinar: “Climate Change’s Canaries: Oceans and Vulnerable Populations.”
This evening, Thursday, June 9, at 7 p.m., tune in to hear from leaders such as:
- Sister Wendy Flannery, convenor of Climate Frontlines at Friends of the Earth Australia and member of Earth Matters, Brisbane Archdiocesan Catholic Justice and Peace Commission
- Ryan Ono, Program coordinator of Ocean Acidification Team of the Ocean Conservancy
Flannery and Ono will be joined by members of communities impacted by climate change to discuss their experiences, as well as the specific impacts of climate change on communities of the Pacific, other Small Island States, the U.S., and indigenous communities. Of special importance for discussion will be the ways in which communities of faith can respond to the effects of climate change on the world.
How does your college or university respond to the impacts of climate change on the world’s oceans and the poor and vulnerable? Let us know!
The upcoming one-year anniversary of the release of Laudato Si’ has inspired reflection on the impacts it has had on Catholics around the world, especially institutions of Catholic higher education. In the April 2016 issue of Connections, the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities’ (AJCU) monthly newsletter, several institutions were featured as having responded to the encyclical with fervor:
- Laudato Si’ was a “Game-Changer” for Creighton University, where professors of theology, biology, environmental science, cultural and social studies, and communication studies, and sustainability studies have experienced renewed interest and and energy in their studies and coursework.
- Gonzaga University has taken a “Multidisciplinary Approach” to responding to the encyclical with “deep academic engagement around Catholic social teaching,” encyclical reading groups, inter-departmental panel discussions, lectures, documentary film screenings, and a renewed commitment to sustainability on campus.
- Food justice and social justice have been major themes for Loyola University Chicago‘s response to Laudato Si’, as well as “eco-education” through conferences focused on poverty and climate justice, lectures, and assisting in the development of a new free online environmental textbook.
- Marquette University has made a renewed commitment to “Going Green” through participating in research at the Global Water Center in Milwaukee, the hiring of the University’s first sustainability coordinator, assisting in the development of the above-mentioned textbook, the LEED certification of two campus buildings, and the focusing of Mission Week on care for creation and sustainability.
- A reflection on the call to promote and fight for environmental justice, as inspired by Laudato Si’, written by Clint J. Springer, associate professor of biology at St. Joseph’s University.
- Santa Clara University has taken the encyclical as a “Charter Document” for its “commitment to climate justice,” as evidenced by the visit of Peter Cardinal Turkson for a conference on climate change, reading groups, the visit of Carolyn Woo of Catholic Relief Services, academic integration of the encyclical, Ignatian reflection, and more.
These institutions of Jesuit higher education are just a few examples of the Catholic response to Laudato Si’. How has your college or university responded to Laudato Si’? Let us know!
This summer, Seattle University, one of two Jesuit universities in the state of Washington, will host a conference on “Just Sustainability: Hope for the Commons.” The conference, hosted by the Seattle University Center for Environmental Justice and Sustainability (CEJS) on August 7-9, 2016, will focus on environmental justice and sustainability research, interdisciplinary dialogue and education, nonprofit and governmental work, networks among Jesuit institutions, and environmental justice in the arts.
Keynote addressees at the conference include:
- Brian Cladoosby, President of the National Congress of American Indians
- Dr. Shariff Abdullah, Director of Commonway Institute
- Cynthia Figge, Co-founder and COO of CSRHub
- Dr. Andy Hoffman, Holcim Professor of Sustainable Enterprise in the School of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Michigan
- McKenzie Funk, writer whose work has appeared in Harper’s, National Geographic, Outside, Rolling Stone, Bloomberg Businessweek, and the New York Times
- Interfaith Amigos, an organization comprised of Protestant Pastor Don Mackenzie, Ph.D., Rabbi Ted Falcon, Ph.D., and Imam Jamal Rahman
The conference will also feature over forty presentations from experts on “the social, environmental, and economic aspects of sustainability.” The gathering seeks to promote collaboration around caring for our common home. Register now to ensure your seat!
How does your college or university promote collaboration around caring for our common home? Let us know!
Earth Day, the annual day of celebration of the earth and promotion of environmental protection, is around the corner! On Friday, April 22, people around the world will spend the day in neighborhood clean-ups, volunteering in community gardens, and so much more.
Especially in the wake of Pope Francis’s encyclical Laudato Si’, many Catholics will celebrate Earth Day as a day of service and stewardship. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Department of Justice Peace and Human Development shared some ideas for how to celebrate Earth Day:
- Get Catholic Climate Covenant’s free, downloadable Earth Day 2016 Program Guide.
- With family or friends, pray this Laudato Si’ prayer in English and Spanish.
- Watch the video on Care for God’s Creation from the CST101 video series by CRS and USCCB.
- Use these resources for liturgy and preaching on the Sunday before or after Earth Day to call attention to our role in caring for God’s creation.
- Learn how local community organizations, including those funded by the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, are addressing environmental issues. Join their efforts!
- Gift Green Street Park or Drop by Drop to your parish’s religious education program or school. Both of these children’s books are about kids caring for creation.
- Gather with a group of friends and reflect on Laudato Si’ using USCCB’s discussion guide in English and Spanish.
- Share this Laudato Si’ bulletin insert, in English and Spanish, in your parish.
- Get inspired by what others are doing to act together to care for creation.
- Advocate! Participate in this current action alert.
How will your college or university celebrate Earth Day this year? Let us know!
Pope Francis has released a video asking for prayers for Creation. In a project called The Pope Video, an initiative sponsored by the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network, also known as Apostleship of Prayer, Pope Francis’s videos have been broadcast all over the world in an effort to increase universal prayer for the Holy Father’s intentions.
The latest video, Care for Creation, accompanies Pope Francis’s desire for the entire month of February to be dedicated to prayer for Our Common Home. In the video we hear his voice pleading for the world to bow our heads in prayer “that we may take good care of creation–a gift freely given–cultivating and protecting it for future generations.”
Next week, Molloy College of Rockville Centre, NY will host a lively discussion to continue the dialogue on climate. Entitled “Catholics, Capitalism, and Climate,” the event features Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, as the keynote speaker. As a principle contributor to Pope Francis’s recent encyclical Laudato Si’, Cardinal Turkson will offer his remarks on the encyclical and its significance.
After the Cardinal’s remarks, Fr. James Martin, SJ, editor at large for America Magazine, will moderate a panel including Meghan J. Clark, Ph.D., R.R. Reno, editor of First Things magazine, and Erin Lothes, Ph.D.
The event will take place at 2:00 p.m. on February 17, 2016 in Molloy College’s Madison Theater. For more information and to RSVP, please visit the Molloy website.
How is your college or university continuing to discuss climate change? Let us know!