Dr. Carolyn Woo Reflects on Laudato Si’ Anniversary

For Catholic Relief Services, Pope Francis’s call to ‘Care for Our Common Home’ has become ingrained in their every day work. In the anniversary month of the release of Laudato si’, President and CEO of CRS Dr. Carolyn Woo wrote a reflection on the impacts the encyclical has made around the world. She outlines the various Laudato si’-inspired acts around the world, including the increasing investment of business leaders in environmentally-sound practices, adaptation programs in Ethiopia, and the introduction of ‘Climate Smart Agriculture’ across Africa and Latin America, where the effects of climate change are at their worst.

In addition to the global impacts of the encyclical, Woo shows that the response has been particularly robust in the U.S. as well. Referencing the impact of Laudato si’ in the world of higher education, she writes, “At Catholic Relief Services, our I Am Climate Change campaign has energized students on college campuses across the country, inspiring them to look at their own behaviors and speak out for others, especially by advocating with government leaders.”

Reminding us of the message of the encyclical, she concludes, “God is so generous and bountiful. He has given us a precious gift—our natural world—that will more than take care of our needs. But we must be the stewards of this gift, cherishing and nurturing it, not exploiting it selfishly.”

Read more of Dr. Woo’s reflection here!

How has your college or university been impacted by Laudato si’? Let us know! 

CRS University Resources: Climate Change and More

Catholic Relief Services (CRS) University offers several resources and ways for your campus to engage in Catholic Social Teaching and climate change activism. One of the most prominent ways in which CRS University fosters student and faculty engagement is through the Student Ambassador Program. By getting involved with or starting chapters at their universities and colleges, students and faculty will have the opportunity to build their leadership skills through learning about and educating their campuses on poverty and injustice around the world. Visit the CRS University website for more information on how to get involved with your university’s chapter or even start your own!

Faculty have the chance to learn more and impart their knowledge of climate change and catholic social teaching through the Faculty Learning Commons (FLC) program. Through FLC, faculty may access resources for the classroom such as course material and discussion guides, multimedia presentations, and suggestions for local action. For the Fall 2015 semester, FLC offers informational sessions on the December 2015 UN Climate Change Conference in Paris and the Climate Change in the World’s Most Vulnerable Places.

Additionally, CRS University offers the CRS Global Campus program. This is designed to promote global solidarity by forming an institutional partnership between CRS and the member colleges and universities. The partnership gives Global Campuses access to training and professional development, CRS staff and partner speakers and academic and campus resources. For more information on the program and how to get your campus involved, please visit the Global Campus program website.

Specifically related to environmental justice, CRS University has begun the “I am Climate Change” social media campaign, which is directed towards college students. In addition to instructions on how to get involved on social media, the website has a full calendar of campaign events, including rallies, advocacy trainings, and more. The campaign also offers an easy format to contact your senator and representative, with a pre-written letter urging the addressee to approve funding for President Obama’s $500 million request for the Green Climate Fund. “I am Climate Change” encourages followers to reflect upon and live by the mantra: “I am the cause. I am the solution. I am climate change” and to use the hashtag #iamclimatechange where ever possible.

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