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Tools to Help Transform Our Relationship With Our Living Planet

“We are at a critical historical moment where actions today
will determine the fate of generations to come…
The call to protect, care, and regenerate creation must be a priority
for everyone, regardless of one’s belonging to this or
that religion or none at all.”

Cardinal Michael Czerny SJ, Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, February 14, 2023 

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Moving forward urgently needed endeavours to heal our society and our planet

“What then is being asked of us?... 
We cannot continue to focus simply on preserving ourselves; rather,
the time has come for all of us to endeavour to heal our society and our planet,
to lay the foundations for a more just and peaceful world” 

Message for the 56th World Day of Peace, January 1, 2023
Pope Francis

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Thinking Nature Positive: Indigenous Peoples Lead

“Indigenous Peoples sustain lands and waters not just for our own interests. We do this because we have a responsibility given to us by the Creator to care for these areas for the benefit of everybody. We know that if we take care of the land, the land will take care of us—all of us."
-Valérie Courtois, director of the Indigenous Leadership Initiative which hosted the Indigenous Village (photo) during COP 15 in Montréal.


In December, MLSM Canada’s Agnes Richard and Karen Van Loon were in Montréal during the UN Biodiversity Conference COP15. They reflect on their experiences at COP15 and parallel events in a 5-part blog series that you can find here.

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Protect the Web of Life: People of Faith Call for Ambitious Action at UN Biodiversity Conference

Tommy Thompson Park--Photo by Jeffrey Eisen on Unsplash

“The natural world is a vital source of humanity’s collective flourishing, and in its grandeur can be found signs of the Divine. Throughout history, and in all parts of the world, nature is the physical loom upon which the tapestry of culture, civilization, and peace is woven. Religious and spiritual traditions compel us to care for creation, of which we are an integral part, with love, respect, and reverence.” 

-2020 Faith Call to Action for Biodiversity signed by over 50 religious bodies
and faith based organizations in the lead up to the UN Summit on Biodiversity

Protect the Web of Life: People of Faith Call for Ambitious Action at UN Biodiversity Conference

Not far from downtown Toronto lies the Leslie Street Spit, a 5-kilometre long peninsula jutting into Lake Ontario. It was formed by a dumping of construction and dredging waste, which began in the 1950’s, originally for a breakwater that was later not needed. Plants began to grow there from seeds in the landfill or washed ashore or brought by wind or birds. In the 1970’s, a local group of birdwatchers, naturalists and cyclists worked to gain access and soon came together as Friends of the Spit. They engaged in ongoing advocacy against various development plans so the area could “grow as nature intended”. In 1985 the part of the spit owned by the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) became Tommy Thompson Park. 

 Over the years the TRCA, with support from community groups and others, have stewarded the evolving ecological communities as well as engaged in various habitat restoration and enhancement initiatives. To help deal with the Spit and other Toronto shoreline alterations contributing to erosion of the Toronto Islands, the TRCA built a nearshore reef at the islands which also provides fish habitat. 

The Spit is now a “biodiversity hotspot” providing wetland, woodland, grassland, aquatic and other habitat homes for diverse and at-risk species. It is also recognized internationally as an Important Bird Area.  Migrating birds, butterflies and other insects use the Spit as a critical stopover point. The Spit also provides a space for low impact recreation opportunities, ecological education and reconnection with nature—all contributing to the well-being of nearby city residents. A waste dump became a space for learning to live in harmony with nature.

Nature is resilient. 

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Time to listen to the cry as well as the song of creation

“Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy” Ps 96:12

“During this Season of Creation, let us pray that COP27 and COP15 can serve to unite the human family (Laudato Si', 13) in effectively confronting the double crisis of climate change and the reduction of biodiversity. Mindful of the exhortation of Saint Paul to rejoice with those who rejoice and to weep with those who weep (cf. Rom 12:15), let us weep with the anguished plea of creation. Let us hear that plea and respond to it with deeds, so that we and future generations can continue to rejoice in creation’s sweet song of life and hope.”

-Message for the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, Sept. 1, 2022, Pope Francis

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Solidarity in the lead up to UN conferences on climate change and biodiversity

“I have spoken of an “ecological conversion” which demands a change of mentality and a commitment to work for the resilience of people and the ecosystems in which they live. This conversion has three important spiritual elements…
  The first entails gratitude for God’s loving and generous gift of creation.
The second calls for acknowledging that we are joined in a universal communion 
with one another and with the rest of the world’s creatures.
The third involves addressing environmental problems not as isolated individuals 
but in solidarity as a community.” Pope Francis, 13 July 2022.



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Faith and Solidarity on the road through COP26

“We need to act together

to inspire and energize each other.” 

-Joint Appeal for COP26 UN Climate Change Summit 
signed by around 40 faith leaders including Pope Francis, October 4, 2021


People of faith led, organized, collaborated and participated in many acts of justice and solidarity during the critical time leading up to and throughout the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow from 31 Oct. - 13 Nov. 

A joint ecumenical delegation of The United Church of Canada and For the Love of Creation, a Canadian faith-based initiative for climate justice, virtually attended COP26 and delegation members shared their experiences in a series of blog posts

In her reflection at the end of COP26, Karri Munn-Venn with Citizens for Public Justice concluded that “as we look to the future, it is abundantly clear that one,much more needs to be done, and two, we are making a difference through our actions, our faithful witness, our amplification of the demands from the Global South, and our advocacy for climate justice.”

Some highlights of justice and solidarity in action along the way to COP26 

Around 40 leaders from the world’s diverse religions signed a joint appeal at the "Faith and Science: Towards COP26" meeting hosted by the Vatican on October 4th, the feast of St. Francis of Assisi. The joint appeal called world leaders to greater ambition at the UN Climate Change Conference including a 1.5°C limit to global warming, substantial financial support for vulnerable countries, and no more biodiversity loss. Recalling that “care for the earth and for others is a key tenet of all our traditions” they committed to taking greater action within their own religious traditions and urged everyone on the planet to join in healing our common home.

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May We Not Waste This Moment

“This is the first time that the three of us feel compelled to address together the urgency of environmental sustainability, its impact on persistent poverty, and the importance of global cooperation. Together, on behalf of our communities, we appeal to the heart and mind of every Christian, every believer and every person of good will. We pray for our leaders who will gather in Glasgow to decide the future of our planet and its people…

All of us—whoever and wherever we are—can play a part in changing
our collective response to the unprecedented threat of
climate change and environmental degradation.”

“A Joint Message for the Protection of Creation.” September 2021, Pope Francis,
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury.

“May we not waste this moment”

The leaders of the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Anglican Communion joined together in a historic “urgent appeal for the future of the planet” leading up to the two significant United Nations conferences taking place this fall on biodiversity and climate change. This is a critical time for calling on global leaders to take the urgent action needed to protect our common home.

In a joint message for the Season of Creation, Pope Francis, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Archbishop Justin Welby call on everyone to do their part in responding together ”to the unprecedented threat of climate change and environmental degradation”. They warn that climate change is “an immediate and urgent matter of survival” which “tomorrow could be worse” for the children and teenagers of today. The statement emphasizes the profound injustice that the worst consequences of biodiversity loss, environmental degradation and climate change are affecting the poorest on the planet who have been least responsible for causing them. 

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Laudato Si’ Week 2021 launches new initiatives for prayer and action

Hundreds of thousands of Catholics participated in Laudato Si’ Week May 16 – 25 to celebrate six years of progress bringing to life Pope Francis’ letter Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home. Pope Francis invited Catholics to participate in Laudato Si’ Week which was sponsored by the Vatican and facilitated by the Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM) in cooperation with many partners. This year’s theme was “for we know that things can change” (LS#13).

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