THE STORY – Laudato Si’ Week Highlights and Season of Creation Planning
Laudato Si’ Week, 2021, was an intense week of activities, announcements and learning opportunities. Of special note to highlight is the GCCM launch of the Healthy People Healthy Planet petition. Individuals are encouraged to sign and share the petition, and there is a separate signature category for Catholic organizations wishing to take a leadership role in amplifying the petition. Signatures will be delivered to global leaders at the COP 15 Biodiversity Conference in October and the COP 26 Climate Change Conference in November. https://thecatholicpetition.org/
In a recent blog petition organizers write, “Urgent action is needed, in line with the science, for all of creation. Our common home and our common family are suffering. The COVID-19 crisis has been yet another alarming symptom of an ecological emergency.
The petition requests, listed on the right, include protection of our world’s habitats and ecosystems, vital to ensure a healthy planet and healthy people. Despite the overwhelming scientific evidence and numerous national declarations of climate and ecological emergencies, world leaders have yet to act commensurate with the scientific and moral urgency. We must grieve for lives and life lost, and we must do better.
As Pope Francis said to world leaders at the Earth Day Summit in April, “... we have the means to rise up to the challenge… It is time to act.”
By signing this petition, we are contributing to an overwhelming, grassroots message to political leaders from Catholic communities all over the world. Our concerns matter and require our united voices!
Another major announcement was made by the Vatican Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development. Cardinal Peter Turkson, on May 25th, launched the Laudato Si’ Action Platform. The Platform was first introduced at the beginning of Laudato Si’ Year in May of 2020.
Working groups for each sector will continue to meet through the summer to complete benchmarks specific to their institutions and compile resources, toolkits and templates to guide groups on their own journeys to total sustainability. Their work will be fully rolled out at the conclusion of the annual Season of Creation, on Oct. 4, 2021, the feast of St. Francis of Assisi.
At its completion, the Laudato Si’ Action Platform will include:
- Laudato Si’ Plans, which your institution, community, or family can use to discern and implement your response to Laudato Si’
- Recognition of your progress
- A global library of resources to provide practical, concrete guidance on ways to take action
- Ways to connect directly with other participants
- Inspiring stories of people who are taking action
Right now, each of us as members of at least one of the seven sectors identified in the plan, are invited to register a commitment to join the platform; families, parishes and dioceses, educational institutions, healthcare institutions, organizations and groups, the economic sector, and religious communities are the sectors named. GCCM Canada is registered under the organizations and groups sector.
But we need not wait for the Laudato Si’ Action Platform Plans to be fully activated in October to begin our own planning. We can tap into many resources that are already available to begin speaking with family, friends, parish groups and others to prepare an event that will coincide with the platform goals and contribute to a rich Season of Creation in Canada this year. Faith & the Common Good has countless resources to help families and parishes develop sustainable practices. For The Love of Creation has excellent tools for Faithful Climate Conversations on their resources page.
GCCM Canada has undertaken the Catholic Eco-Investment Accelerator project, designed to address the Laudato Si’ Action Plan goal #3, of furthering Ecological Economics. The virtual forum introduced us to Canadian ecological investment methodologies and opportunities. Please read about, view and share recordings to Catholic Eco-Investment Accelerator Virtual Forum at https://www.faithcommongood.org/gccm_eco_invest. The dicastery's recent appeal, to shift finances away from fossil fuels, was one of the most direct statements about divestment to date from the Vatican, identifying it as a moral and theological imperative.
With God’s grace, we can to plan in person gatherings to celebrate the Season of Creation, Sept 1 to October 4. This Christian celebration has been embraced by faiths all over the world, and the ecumenical team of leaders have provided an excellent guide with reflections on this year’s theme, A Home for All? Renewing the Oikos of God. “The Psalmist proclaims ‘the Earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it.’ There are two statements of faith at the heart of this song. The first is that every creature belongs to the Earth community. The second is that the entire community belongs to the Creator. Abraham’s tent invokes a reminder to welcome all of creation into a tent of safety and hospitality. Most of the suggestions in 2021 Celebration Guide work well with the Laudato Si’ Action Plan Goals.
In 2021, let’s populate the Season of Creation and Laudato Si’ Action Platform map with pins from all over Canada!
Have a blessed and restful summer time.
NEW / EVENTS/ ACTIONS
- The Transforming the Troubling Legacy of Terra Nullius: Catholic Settler Responsibility and Indigenous EcoActivism webinar is available on youtube. A list of learning and action items, around breaking down the systemic effects of Terra Nullius, can be found here.
- View the Laudato Si’ Dialogue on Energy and Fossil Fuels webinar, recorded during Laudato Si’ Week. This is a great conversation starter for communities and organizations planning to act on the Laudato Si’ Action Platform goal #3, Ecological Economics.
- D&P Campaign to increase Canada’s international aid contributions https://www.devp.org/en/articles/increasing-official-development-assistance-first-step-paying-our-debt
- The Faith-in-action campaign continues until October 4, 2021. The campaign mobilizes people across Canada to reduce household greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and demonstrate support for increased federal climate action. Their website includes a personal pledge and three letter templates to advocate with federal MPs. Share your pledge and call on federal Cabinet Ministers to commit the Government of Canada to:
- Increase our national GHG emissions reductiontarget and invest in a just transition to a fair, inclusive, green economy;
- Implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, including, but not limited to, the right of free, prior and informed consent;
- Commit equal support for climate change adaptation and mitigation measures in the Global South.
- The Season of Creation begins September 1, 2021. Look up the Season of Creation website, and detailed celebration guide.
- Are you concerned about the Catholic response to the discovery of 215 children’s bodies at an Indian Residential School in Kamloops, and would like to urge our Bishops to do more? This letter is available for religious communities to sign asking for a National Catholic Reconciliation Plan/Plan de réconciliation catholique national. And this petition is for individuals to send a message to the CCCB.