This summer, Care for our Common Home focuses on the ecumenical Season of Creation and its 2019 theme of protecting God’s web of life. The Season of Creation runs from September 1st to October 4th, the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, and invites Christians around the world to pray and care for creation. Resources are suggested to help with planning a Season of Creation event. They can be adapted for other times as well.
The web of life needs our protection more than ever
We are part of a wonderfully complex and interdependent web of life. Our well-being depends on healthy biodiversity and ecosystems and the life giving services they provide for us such as clean water, food, oxygen and climate regulation. From a Christian perspective, every species and being in this web of life are precious because God created them and all reflect something of God. In Laudato Si’ Pope Francis reminds us that we are part of a “universal family” which we are called to cherish with love and respect. Imagine how life would flourish if we did!
Instead, we have not sufficiently cared for the web of life which sustains us and it is declining as never before in human history. Accelerating climate change is one of the main reasons. The record breaking heat in June and maybe July as well as unprecedented fires raging in the Arctic are just two of the latest signs.
Around 1 million animal and plant species are now threatened with extinction according to the summary of the first ever United Nations Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services released last May.
As report co-chair, Prof. Settele, explains, “Ecosystems, species, wild populations, local varieties and breeds of domesticated plants and animals are shrinking, deteriorating or vanishing. The essential, interconnected web of life on Earth is getting smaller and increasingly frayed. This loss is a direct result of human activity and constitutes a direct threat to human well-being in all regions of the world.”
All are not equally affected however-- Indigenous Peoples and many of the world’s poorest that depend more on nature are projected to be harder hit. The report outlines that climate change is already negatively impacting nature with more expected.
It is not too late to change course. To restore and protect nature, the report emphasizes that transformative system-wide change is needed starting now and at all levels from local to global. Decreasing consumption and waste is one of the key changes needed. This echoes the “rapid and far-reaching” transitions needed to significantly reduce the risks of climate change outlined in the UN Global Warming of 1.5°C Report.
A climate emergency call to action
At a June 14th Vatican meeting with CEOs and investors of oil and gas companies, Pope Francis declared “Today’s ecological crisis, especially climate change, threatens the very future of the human family... Faced with a climate emergency, we must take action accordingly”. He called for “a radical energy transition”. Pope Francis emphasized that future generations should not pay “the price of our irresponsibility” and that “young people are calling for change”.
Global climate strike on May 24th in Toronto
What began last year with a young Swedish girl named Greta Thunberg striking alone from school every Friday for action on climate change, grew to well over a million participants from 131 countries at the global climate strike on May 24th. Over 100 climate strikes took place in Canada. Young people are leading these climate strikes demanding urgent action on climate change. Older generations are joining them in solidarity. On April 16th Greta met Pope Francis.
This year Catholics began joining the movement with over 100 Catholic climate strikes around the world on May 24th, the four-year anniversary of Laudato Si’. The next global climate strike will take place on September 20th during the Season of Creation, and before world leaders gather for the UN Climate Action Summit. Laudato Si’ Generation, the youth branch of the Global Catholic Climate Movement, is leading Catholic participation in the climate strikes and is providing resources and event registration.
Upcoming Dates and Events
Saturday Sept. 1st World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation
Tuesday Sept. 10th Catholic fossil fuel divestment announcement
Friday Sept. 20th Global Climate Strike
Young people and supporters strike for action on climate change. Catholic participation coordinated by Laudato Si’ Generation.
Saturday Sept. 21st Sacred Ecology Festival
10:00am to 9:00pm
Jubilee United Church, 40 Underhill Drive, Toronto
Monday Sept. 23rd United Nations Climate Action Summit, NYC
Friday Oct. 4th St. Francis of Assisi Feast Day
October 6-27 Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon Region