On 22 April Earth Day, Catholics around the globe are invited to show mercy to our common home through acts of prayer, education, service, and advocacy. This is in support of Pope Francis’ call for renewed commitments to care for creation in his Laudato Si document, in which he asked us to ‘show mercy to our common home’.
It is a that timely reminder that 97% of climate scientists agree human activity over the past century has created today’s climate trends. If we caused the problems, surely we have to find the solutions – both as individuals and, more importantly, by our collective actions.
The impact of what we do in Scotland has a direct effect on developing countries in South America and Africa. Although the Scottish Government has taken some very positive measures, the impact of our actions in the developed world is alarming and life threatening.
• Flooding destroys homes, livelihoods and lives
• Increased temperatures makes it harder to grow crops
• This leads to migration as whole communities are forced to relocate, and look for alternative means of income.
I was shocked to learn that despite the fact that it is those who have contributed least to climate chaos – the poor and vulnerable – are those who are hit hardest, those of us who contribute most are not responding quickly enough to make a difference.
Like you, I want to know what we can do in our lives to make positive changes in the lives of those most affected by global warming.
Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’ challenges us to care for our common home by growing in faith, hope, and love; to live in healthy relationships with God, neighbour, and all creation. We are called to be ecological citizens, to make prudent decisions, and sometimes even to take bold actions. By doing so we will nurture and support human life in all its stages, as well as protect the goodness and beauty of God’s great gift of the natural environment.
On Earth Day let’s literally take a small step forward by walking to Church, making ourselves aware that the less we use our cars, the less we are polluting the atmosphere. It’s the simplest way to reduce our carbon footprint.
We could also encourage our Pastoral Committees to enlist our parishes in the ECO Congregations scheme.
And maybe we could step out of our comfort zone to persuade not only our parish but our communities to take action on reducing the use of plastics, on efficient recycling, and on the spread of renewable energy.
Let us make Earth Day a first step, to walk with Pope Francis as ‘Pilgrims of the Future,’ to support the poor and vulnerable by finding solutions by our collective actions to reduce climate change.