We are called to grow in faith and hope in this time of increasing ecological and social crisis; and to develop new attitudes, habits and actions that care for our common home. A parish Creation Care Ministry team that brings various talents together and provides mutual support can help grow faith community witness.
“How can we contribute to the mighty river of justice and peace in this Season of Creation? What can we, particularly as Christian communities, do to heal our common home so that it can once again teem with life? We must do this by resolving to transform our hearts, our lifestyles, and the public policies ruling our societies.”
Messagefor the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, Pope Francis, September 1, 2023
“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.”
“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
“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.
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 Biodiversitysigned 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.
“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
“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.
Catholics will journey together during Laudato Si’ Week May 22 - 29
Catholics around the world will listen and respond together to the cry of creation during Laudato Si’ Week, marking the 7th anniversary of Pope Francis’ encyclical on care for our common home. The 2022 theme is Listening and Journeying Together.