Our Common Home

Our Common Home
Living Laudato Si’

The recent UN report on Climate Change (IPCC) left many people feeling overwhelmed as the UN Secretary General, António Guterres, described it as a “code red for humanity”. The report was released during a week which saw wildfires continue to rage across the world and countries such as Madagascar bracing themselves for a devastating famine, the roots of which are attributed to global warming. The IPPC report was clear, there is no doubt that human activity is causing our planet to warm, the impacts are being felt across all regions and all systems and will get worse. However, the report also offered some hope that if governments take immediate action now, we can steer onto a different path: “Strong and sustained reductions in emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases would limit climate change.”

Faith communities have a vital role to play in addressing this crisis for, as we read in Laudato Si’, at the heart of the environmental crisis is a deep spiritual crisis. We must restore our relationship with God’s creation. Laudato Si’ calls faith communities to respond: “Living our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork is essential to a life of virtue; it is not an optional or a secondary aspect of our Christian experience” (LS, 217). The upcoming Season of Creation (September 1 – October 4) gives us the perfect opportunity to respond in prayer, reflection and action for our common home. Extensive resources are now available for parish communities in Ireland to help us celebrate this season and can be found at www.catholicbishops.ie (search Season of Creation).

This Season of Creation the Vatican are also inviting Catholics to urgently unite and demand bold action to protect God’s creation by signing the “Healthy People, Healthy Planet” petition. This petition is aimed at the next UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) which is due to take place in Glasgow in November. At this conference world leaders must come together and make decisions which will have repercussions for many generations to come. It is a critical moment for our common home. Pope Francis will attend this UN Conference and we are asked to help create the momentum that is needed for real change. So this Season of Creation we would urge all parishes, schools, families and communities to help promote the Healthy Planet Healthy People petition by going to www.thecatholicpetition.org, adding your name and encouraging family and friends to do the same. This is one way we can lift up the voices of the most vulnerable, respond to the cry of the earth, and take a stand for future generations. Celebrating the Season of Creation and signing this petition are two actions that can make a real difference this year.

“For we know that things can change…” (LS, 13).

Jane Mellett is the Laudato Si’ Officer with Trócaire