The Catholic Climate Covenant is the US Catholics response to the Church’s call to care for creation and care for the poor. They are based out of Washington, DC, and are supported by 14 national partners. Among their many ambitions, they aim to teach Catholics on climate change, equip them to care for creation and the poor, and inspire leaders to take actions. They have helped 140 Creation Care Teams lead their communities, organized 7 national press conferences, and helped supporters send over 10,000 letters in support of climate change. Additionally, their work has been mentioned in over 3,000 media stories. Their website includes environmental programs, teachings, and resources. To learn more, visit their website by clicking here.
The St. Francis Pledge is a commitment to respond to the moral call for action on climate change. The commitment includes praying, acting, and advocating to solve climate change. There have been over 10,000 individuals and 75 institutions that have taken the St. Francis Pledge. They have committed to living out the Catholic values through deep reflection, concrete action, and advocacy. To learn more, or to make the pledge, click here.
Catholic Relief Services strives to carry out the commitment of the Bishops of the United States to assist the poor and vulnerable overseas. They act to promote human development by responding to major emergencies, fighting disease and poverty, and nurturing peaceful and just societies. A major initiative they take is to fight the effects of climate change on the poor. Their website includes resources on how to respond to climate change and stories of the impacts it has overseas and can be found by clicking here.
Catholic Rural Life is a national, Catholic nonprofit organization dedicated to the importance of rural America. Their mission is to apply the teachings of Jesus Christ for the social, economic, and spiritual development of rural America while strengthening and sustaining the Church. They advance their mission through three distinct areas of impact: ethical food and agriculture, rural outreach and ministry, and stewardship of creation. To learn more about their mission and these specific initiatives, click here.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops considers Environmental Justice to be a core issue that requires the action of all Catholics. Their response to this issue has been the Environment Justice Program. This is a program of the Department of Justice, Peace, and Human Development that educates and motivates Catholics to a deeper reverence and respect for God’s creation. They encourages Catholics to address environmental problems, especially as they affect poor and vulnerable people. To learn more about this program, click here.
The Vocation of Agriculture: to Till and Keep God’s Creation is a discussion on the calling of agriculture on Saturday March 25th at St. Joseph Church in Plain City. The challenges of rural workers, rural parishes, and rural communities will be explored. There will be many speakers through the day including Sr. Christine Pratt and Dr. Hitzhusen both of OSU. Participants are encouraged to read Laudato Si and the Vocation to Agriculture by Cardinal Peter K.A. Turkson before attending. The event is free but you must register which can be done by clicking here.
Earth Ministry is an organization that engages faith communities in environmental stewardship and advocacy. Based out of Seattle, Washington, their mission is to inspire and mobilize the religious community to play a leadership role in building a just and sustainable future. They support many programs in including Faithful Advocacy, Greening Congregations, and Washington Interfaith Power & Light. In addition, they have been working to ban toxic chemicals, protect wildlife habitat and public lands, and promote clean energy for a stable climate and sustainable economy. Earth Ministry has a country wide reach and their website contains many helpful and informative resources. To visit their website and learn more, click here.
Shepherd’s Corner is an ecological ministry of the Dominican Sisters of Peace. They serve as a farm along with a center for ecology, spirituality, and education. They work towards providing environmental education, reflective experiences on care for the creation, and renewal of the land. They welcome people of all backgrounds to come and learn how to reconnect with the natural environment, with themselves, with one another, and with the Creator. They frequently offer events to help others reach these goals. To see the dates of these events and learn more, click here.
To learn more by visiting their website, click here.
Shepherd’s Corner is an ecology center of the Dominican Sisters of Peace. They strive to provide environmental education, reflective experience on care for creation, and renewal of the land. They hold many events which are all now listed in the events calendar. These events include celebrating the time of planting in our gardens and our lives, learning how to prepare for Spring through renewal, balancing life in tune with the Vernal Equinox, and learning how to avoid harmful cleaners. While these events are free, there is a suggested donation price and a required registration which can be found here. To see the calendar of these events, click here.
Since the release of Laudato si’, many Catholic churches have made caring for creation a priority. About a year ago, the Catholic Diocese of Columbus started The Creation Care Team to help in their task of caring for creation. Their main role is to promote the church’s teachings on care for creation and in particular how it was articulated in Laudato si’. They assemble groups of people with specific initiatives who work on spreading awareness, educating, and developing practical ways for Catholics to live. While their work has impacts that spread far and wide, one distinct person who has made a difference is Bruce Boylan, the Director of Facilities for the Catholic Diocese of Columbus.
Around a year ago, Bruce and his team started looking for ways to help Catholic schools in the area reduce their energy costs. They came upon the idea of LED lights and obtained a few samples that were first tried in the cafeteria of St. Mary’s church. An example of the difference between a normal fluorescent bulb and an LED bulb can be seen below. They found that there was a significant improvement in lighting and cost, but the payback time took about nine months. The problem was in that nine months; if a parish or school did not have the money to invest right away, then nine months was too long to wait for saving money. Along with the payback time being delayed, the price of the LED bulbs were about sixteen dollars apiece and they were difficult to install. All these problems were holding them back, until they found a local realtor.
Late last year, they found a local realtor who was selling LED bulbs for six dollars apiece and they were much easier to install. With this new price, the payback time was reduced from nine months to only three and a half months. With this lower price and easier installation, these bulbs caused a 73% reduction in an energy bill for lights after just three and a half months. The math done to calculate these figures can be seen below. Now, the idea of LED lights became much more plausible for everyone.
Bruce placed his first order for 500 LED bulbs to replace the lights in the Catholic Diocese building in Columbus. The cost was 3,000 dollars and they have an expected rebate of 1,500 dollars. Even without the rebate, within three and a half months they will be saving enough money to make the purchase worth it. After the increase of confidence in these bulbs, they started to spread the word to buildings across the area. Schools have the highest interest because they have the most to gain. They have an immense need for lighting and have their lighting in use more often compared to parishes and other buildings. A school in the area has recently placed an order for 100 LED bulbs to sample. They found them to be well worth it and have since placed an order for 400 more bulbs. The success of these LED bulbs is astronomical and with the continued work of Bruce and The Creation Care Team, it will only continue to grow.