The St. Kateri Conservation Center has a wonderful ministry to inspire Catholics and others to restore yards, gardens, schools, farms, parks, forests, rivers, and wetlands into healthy habitats for people and wildlife. It encourages individuals, parishes, schools, religious orders, and working landowners to restore their land, homes, parishes, and communities in ways that praise God and foster a greater connection between God, people, and nature.
Consider especially how your parish, youth group, or family ministry could transform a nearby area through this program.
We are please to announce the following online video courses by Green Churches Network founder Norman Lévesque, which will help you build a flourishing creation care ministry in your parish.
We have recently published the following three resources for parish ministry:
National Catholic Reporter just launched EarthBeat, a new project that explores what Catholics and other people of faith are doing in response to climate change. They hope that by reporting about the many efforts of faith groups in caring for the environment, they can raise greater awareness and inspire others to take action. Send them any story ideas and feedback. Visit it at NCRonline.org/EarthBeat.
Vatican Radio is reporting that the Holy See is calling for stronger education about climate change, especially for the young. This should come as no surprise, since Chapter 6 of Laudato Si' focuses on "Ecological Education and Spirituality."
How is your parish or school helping educate people about these issues?
10 Ways Faith-Based Organizations Can Connect Children, Families and Communities to the Natural World
Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder reference Laudato Si' and shares some practical ideas for how faith communities can help all of us connect back to"Vitamin N," in a time when technology and busyness keep many away.
Catholic News Service reports that, in response to Pope Francis encyclical, the Archdiocese of Chicago is benchmarking all 2,700 buildings of its buildings for sustainability goals. They will seek to evaluate and optimize for their water usage, energy efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions. Chicago parishes who already performed this work have found that financial savings come along with this work.
But you don't have to be in the Chicago Archdiocese to make your parish or school buildings more environmentally friendly. The book 77 Ways to Save Money and Energy at Your School or Parish steps you through the process.
We have just announced our first set of eResources supporting Laudato Si' and creation care:
Many parishes are not familiar with how eResources work, but they have many advantages. They are electronic files (Word, Powerpoint, or PDF documents) that we email to you. They come with permission to make as many copies as you would like or otherwise share within your parish or school. They're flexible, inexpensive, convenient, and environmentally friendly (as we don't have to ship them across the country).
In Laudato Si', Pope Francis calls the climate a common good shared by and meant for all, and says, "A very solid scientific consensus indicates that we are presently witnessing a disturbing warming of the climatic system." (LS #23)
Some people disagree about the extent of that consensus, which many cite as at 97%. But an analysis by James L. Powell, director of the National Physical Sciences Consortium and a member of the National Science Board under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, shows that the climate consensus is actually 99.99%. That would seem to fit Pope Francis' assessment of "very solid."
Here is an amusing video created before the encyclical was released. What do you think? Has Pope Francis viewed this by now?
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