We close this Season of Creation with a look at the Laudato Si’s Action Platform goal Community Resilience and Empowerment. Sister Caryn Crook points out that addressing climate change is not a political issue, but one of science, social justice and faith.
By Sister Caryn Crook
Pope Francis released his encyclical “Laudato Si, Care for our Common Home” in 2015. The world embraced it as a critical writing on climate change and the state of our Mother Earth. In paragraph 13, Pope Francis wrote to “bring the whole human family together . . . for we know that things can change.” It did bring many countries together and highlighted what we needed to do to change. Since then, the Vatican has developed a program called Laudato Si Platform which gives religious institutes and other groups and organizations the tools they need to follow through with Pope Francis’ message.
Laudato Si Platform outlines 7 Goals. (https://laudatosiactionplatform.org/)
- Response to the cry of the earth
- Response to the cry of the poor
- Ecological economics
- Adoption of sustainable lifestyles
- Ecological education
- Ecological spirituality
- Community resilience and empowerment
Laudato Si is not a political document but a document of faith in action. Each Laudato Si Platform goal can be found in the Sisters of St Francis of the Neumann Communities’ Rule and Life and Constitutions and our four values of minority, contemplation, poverty, and conversion.
In the United States of America, Climate Change is a political issue; but it is a scientific issue, an ecological issue, a social issue and a theological issue. Here are the facts. Since the Industrial Revolution, carbon particles in the form of gasses have increased rapidly in our atmosphere, trapping heat instead of it dispersing into space. Average yearly temperatures have been rising at an alarming rate since the 1970s. Most of the carbon atoms in our atmosphere are linked to burning fossil fuels tying them to human activity. This information is supported by peer reviews, countless studies, and factual data — Climate Change is happening. Since we humans caused it, we too can change it.
Figure 1 https://www.nasa.gov/index.html
Our world has seen devastating floods, droughts, forest fires, disappearing coral reefs, melting glaciers, and species extinctions at levels never seen before, and it will only get worse. These issues most affect those who are poor and vulnerable. This may make us feel hopeless and powerless to stop it. Our faith calls us to hope and to act. We can act individually by embracing the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle motto, using less energy and embracing our vow of poverty. We can also act as a congregation and nation, joining other religious institutes, dioceses, and organizations worldwide and creating a plan of action for following the Laudato Si Platform.
Harriet Tubman said, “Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” She changed her world by rescuing one small group of enslaved peoples at a time, changing their lives and families forever. Let us follow Ms. Tubman, embrace and be courageous, and help our Sister Mother Earth and fellow creatures.
Sister Caryn Crook gathered at Allegheny River Front with fellow members of LCWR, Leadership Conference of Women Religious, to celebrate the International Day of Action for Rivers. Watch this video and listen to Sister Caryn share her story as to why they are committed to using fewer plastics, cleaning up litter, and honoring Sister Water.
Prayer for Clean Water
God, you created the seas, rivers, lakes, and oceans. It is from these waters that we have learned to find life and sustain our bodies. Teach us how to care for the water in our world, how to keep it clean for future generations and cleanse it for those who need it in the present. Amen.
Prayer found on Soujourners