Reflecting on World Oceans Day

Today, June 8, is World Oceans Day, founded in 2002 to celebrate, honor, help protect and conserve the oceans. Events in honor of World Oceans Day will occur across the globe.  For some, this holiday prompts reflection on the issues related to oceans, such as sustainability and human trafficking practices in the seafood industry.

Over the past two years, the Coalition of Catholic Organizations Against Human Trafficking has coordinated advocacy efforts to encourage seafood companies to eradicate human trafficking practices.  In 2016, the Coalition sponsored a postcard campaign, while in 2017 they focused on encouraging seafood companies who are cleaning up their supply chains to label their products.  Read more about this year’s project on their website.

In honor of World Oceans Day, Fair Trade USA has launched a campaign encouraging consumers to purchase seafood that is produced in an environmentally and socially responsible way.  Launched in 2014, their certification of seafood products allows consumers to make purchases that have been shown to meet rigorous standards for workers in the fishing industry.  Learn more about their work on their website.

How will your campus celebrate and reflect on World Oceans Day?  Let us know!

 

Chaplains for Earth Write Letter for Earth Day

The Chaplains for Earth initiative is a collaboration of Deans and Directors of college and university religious and spiritual life departments in the United States. They are working to gather signatures on an open letter to President Trump, Secretary of State Tillerson, and EPA Administrator Pruitt calling them to honor U.S. commitments made at the 2015 United Nations Climate Conference in Paris. The goal for the letter is to have signatures representing all 50 states by April 22. The letter will be released in time for Earth Day.

The letter quotes the 2015 Parliament of the World’s Religions Interfaith Call to Action on Climate Change: “The damaging impacts of climate change are already extensive…If human behavior does not change, these impacts will become far more extreme, resulting in turmoil and suffering on an enormous scale with immense harm to both humans and other forms of life. People affected are, and will be, disproportionately the poor, marginalized, and vulnerable, including women and children—those who have done least to create this crisis. This is a massive injustice.”

To read the letter and to learn more, visit the Chaplains for Earth website.

YouTube Live Event: Catholic Social Teaching on Campus

Join us for the fourth live event in the WeAreSaltAndLight.org series on Wednesday, November 16, 2016 at noon EST. The 30-minute event, which is co-sponsored by the USCCB Department of Justice, Peace, and Human Development and the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, will focus on how college and university communities learn about and respond to the Church’s social mission.

The event will feature Kathleen Smythe, on how Xavier University in Ohio engages sustainability students to assist a local cooperative coffee shop, Tom Southard from Cabrini University on community-based learning about refugees and climate change, and Fr. Etido Jerome from Xavier University of Louisiana on global solidarity.

Participate here!  You can also view past live events on Pray Together, Reach Out Together, and Racial Justice.

Catholic Colleges Featured on Sierra Club’s Cool School’s List

Ten Catholic colleges and universities were featured as 2016 Cool Schools in Sierra Magazine. This list measures colleges in their sustainability efforts in energy, investments, co-curricular, food, innovation, academics, planning, purchasing, transport, waste, and water. Colleges reported their programs and initiatives through the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS), a program of The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).

Schools included are Loyola University of Chicago (featured in the Top 20 Cool Schools), Aquinas College, Creighton University, Gonzaga University, Loyola Marymount University, Saint Louis University, Santa Clara University, Seattle University, St. John’s University, and Villanova University.

Congratulations to the colleges on their sustainability initiatives!