“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
Tools to help transform our relationship with our living planet
We need a “bold cultural revolution” (Laudato Si’ #114) to respond adequately to the climate crisis and ecological breakdown, Cardinal Czerny emphasized at the February 14th launch of the new Vatican and Stockholm Environment Institute resource, Our Common Home: A guide to caring for our living planet.
This practical guide is for individuals, parishes, and other faith-based groups and communities. It brings together clear explanations of urgent environmental concerns; what needs to change; messages from Laudato Si’, Pope Francis’ letter on care for our common home; as well as ways to take action.
Key topics highlighted include climate change, biodiversity loss, access to clean water, food production, air pollution, sustainable consumption, and links between the environment and social justice. It invites us to “pray and act for justice on all fronts for both people and planet”.
A 20-page printed booklet and website were co-created by the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) and the Vatican's Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. The guide is available in five languages and can be accessed online at SEI and at the Dicastery. The Dicastery also has over 500,000 print copies to distribute to parishes around the world.
At the launch event, John Mundell, Director of the Vatican-led Laudato Si’ Action Platform (LSAP), welcomed the resource which outlines actions with the greatest impact. It will be available to support almost 7,000 LSAP participants around the world which include families, individuals, dioceses, parishes, religious congregations, educational and health institutions, businesses and organizations. LSAP aims to empower everyone to take practical and concrete action on a journey towards sustainability and is open to Catholic individuals, institutions and communities as well as all people of goodwill.
Connecting with initiatives and resources for taking action in Canada
All of us—in our homes, schools, parishes, organizations, businesses and other places within society—can contribute to the urgent and transformative action needed. Both advocacy for systemic transitions as well as simple and sustainable lifestyle changes are needed to transform our relationship with our living planet. People of faith and faith communities have a key role to play in the underlying spiritual, cultural and ethical transformation needed
As a global resource, the actions suggested in the guide are general for everyone. However, there are initiatives and resources that help with taking action from a Canadian context.
Now is a great time to take part in one of the first actions outlined in the guide--calling for stronger action on climate change and advocating for climate justice. Consider joining other people of faith across Canada participating in Give it up for the Earth. This faith-in-action campaign organized by Citizens for Public Justice and For the Love of Creation runs from February 22 to April 6, 2023. It raises awareness about climate change and mobilizes people across Canada to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, engage in acts of solidarity, as well as sign and collect signatures on an open letter urging federal government action such as more ambitious climate action targets, support for climate justice legislation and protection of Indigenous rights.
Additional resources include a faith and climate reflection as well as decolonization and just transition resources. A webinar is also planned for March 23rd on Preserving Biodiversity: Creation Care from Faith to Action.
Resources to help move lifestyles towards justice and sustainability
Climate change and biodiversity decline are driven primarily by the rapid rise in materials and energy consumption, mainly by highly industrialized countries. While reducing this consumption will require changes in our economies, cities, industries, regulations and other systemic transitions, personal lifestyle changes are also needed. Lifestyle changes highlighted in the guide include:
- Eating more plant-based foods;
- Reducing emissions e.g. by taking public transport, walking and cycling;
- Reducing waste, especially plastic waste and eliminating food waste;
- Buying more from local producers and composting.
Some resources to help with making these and other lifestyle changes:
- Give it up for the Earth has guides to help with reducing one’s GHG emissions and ecological footprint;
The Canadian government has outlined 31 Protect Nature Challenges and invited individuals and families to join them in protecting nature by choosing some of these actions to practice in daily life. Short guides with further resources and links are provided for each action which include:
- Rethink your consumer habits
- Save money and save nature
- Stop waste and shrink your food waste
Become part of the circular economy.
For faith communities, Faith & the Common Good offers many practical educational tools & services to reduce their ecological footprint including Greening Sacred Spaces (GSS) program resources, a DIY Walkthrough Audit and numerous gardening resources that help support local biodiversity. Green Churches Network also has several tools to help faith communities with energy efficiency, ethical eating, sustainable transportation and more.
- Laudato Si’ Movement has a prayer book to support the journey of ecological conversion and action. The book can be downloaded for free and has eight sections: prayers from Laudato Si’; praying with creation; hearing creation’s song; hearing creation’s cry; hearing creation’s call; prayers for daily life; morning and evening prayers; and the Laudato Si’ Rosary
“Along with the importance of little everyday gestures, social love moves us to devise larger strategies to halt environmental degradation and to encourage a “culture of care” which permeates all of society.”