Environmental leaders, activists and advocates gathered with Pope Francis for a two-day Vatican-organized conference with hopes to emerge with a shared vision for protecting our planet. The conference was inspired by the third anniversary of the Pope’s encyclical and was attended by political and religious leaders, scientists, economists and heads of civil society organizations. Inspired by the call for unity and action in the encyclical, UN Environment also introduced their Interfaith Rain-forest Initiative at the conference. To read more about the conference, click here.
The Church of England will divest its $16 billion fund from companies that are not aligning themselves with the goals of the Paris Agreement. The decision, which passed by a majority of 347 to 4 votes, states that the church will sell stakes in companies not taking steps towards climate goals by 2023. On its website, the Church of England said, “We believe that responding to climate change is an essential part of our responsibility to safeguard God’s creation. Our environmental campaign exists to enable the whole church to address—in faith, practice and mission—the issue of climate change.” To read more, click here.
In June 2014, the University of Dayton became the first Catholic university in the United States to announce their divestment from coal and fossil fuels. Members of the university staff see this move as part of the university’s commitment to “being a responsible steward of the Earth’s natural resources.” This decision was commended by the president of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities. Their decision was one inspired by faith reflection as well as a commitment to financial stability for the university.
Beyond divesting from coal and fossil fuels, the university has taken further steps to move their campus toward efficiency and sustainability. A signatory of the of The American College and University President’s Climate Commitment (ACU PCC) and a member of other sustainability committees, the university now has two full time employees who work to improve campus sustainability and offers academic programs in these areas as well.
The University of Dayton is also home to the Hanley Sustainability Institute.
Pope Francis continued his efforts to uplift climate change as a focus of global Catholic action with a conference of oil company executives at the Vatican in early June 2018. The pope, who has called for a swift energy transition away from fossil fuels and to more renewable energy sources, praised progress made by big oil companies while pushing for even further change.
In his statements on climate change, Pope Francis argues for our present duty to care for the gift of the earth for ourselves as well as future generations. He also recognizes that the poor will be disproportionately affected by global warming.
The Global Catholic Climate Movement has followed the pope’s directive and removed funding from organizations which support fossil fuel. Catholic universities, like Notre Dame, are working on plans to remove fossil fuels from their own energy production.
This reflection on Laudato Si’ is a resource from Ecospirituality. It highlights important quotes and offers additional resources related to creation care. To read more or download this reflection, click here.
The Carmelite NGO has created new curriculum on Laudato Si’: Laudato Si’ Can Change the World. It is meant for grades 9-12 and also includes an adult study guide meant for study groups or college classes. To read more or download the curriculum, click here.
Climate Change: Morphing into an Existential Threat is a lecture by Pope Francis’s climate scientist: V. Ramanathan, Ph.D. Dr. Ramanathan is world renowned climate scientist who serves as a member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and advised Pope Francis on Laudato Si’. He also represented the Holy See at the United Nations Climate Negotiations in 2015 and 2016. Creighton University will hold the lecture, which will be a live stream beginning February 21st at 7:00 pm central time. To watch the live stream, click here.
Bright Now: Towards Fossil Free Churches is a campaign from Operation Noah on the necessity for churches to divest from fossil fuel companies. This initiative is based on the belief that the care for God’s creation must extend to the way in which churches invest their funds. The campaign includes a report on the urgency of the issue, a reflective paper on the ethics of fossil fuels, and tools to help divest a church from fossil fuels. To read more, click here.
Operation Noah is a Christian organization that supports interfaith work on climate change. Their mission is to promote and to develop leadership in response to the climate crisis, support the transition to 100% clean energy, engage Christian communities, and to produce resources to help Christians understand and explore the issues surrounding climate change. To read more, click here.
Homily Helps is a resource from Catholic Climate Covenant that offers resources that help to integrate the insights of Laudato Si’ and caring for creation into Sunday mass. It includes highlights from the Scripture, relevant quotations from Laudato Si’, sample applications, and more. To download the entire resource, click here.