Tag Archives: environment

Listening to the cry of the earth

Today on International Mother Earth Day, Rachel McCarthy from the CAFOD Theology Programme reflects on listening to creation. This is the third of a series of blogs ahead of Pope Francis’ encyclical on human development and ecology, expected to be published this summer.

Flowers in Nicaragua

A blossom of flowers in Nicaragua

“The cry of the poor and the cry of the earth are one.”

(Canadian Bishops Conference, 2003)

We are called to open our hearts and hear what creation is saying to us.

But what does it mean to truly listen to our sisters and brothers across the world, and to the earth?

Listening to God’s creation 

The call to listen to creation is grounded in our belief that all of the earth reflects God’s glory.

Scripture reveals the inherent goodness of creation as made by God. Jesus talked to his disciples about the natural beauty of

the flowers in the fields, and said, “Not even Solomon in all his royal robes was clothed like one of these” (Matthew 6:28-30).

All living beings are made by God, and we have a deep connection with the whole of creation. Indeed, God establishes an everlasting covenant with all creatures on earth (Genesis 9:16).

Humankind, as created in the image of God, is simultaneously interconnected with all creatures and is given a special role to care for creation.

Inspired by Saint Francis of Assisi, the patron Saint of ecology, we remember that we are all members of the eco-family. We are called to praise the Creator God together with our ‘Brother Sun’ and ‘Sisters moon and stars’.

Contemplate the beauty of creation with our reflections

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Seven (and a half) reasons 2015 is the year for action on climate change

Sophie Dodgeon, Head of Campaigns at CAFOD.

Sophie Dodgeon, Head of Campaigns at CAFOD.

CAFOD’s Head of Campaigns, Sophie Dodgeon, gives us the lowdown on what to watch out for in the year ahead – and explains why 2015 is such a crucial year for action on climate change.

Sign our climate petition to party leaders

1. It’s a year to say goodbye. In 2015, we reach the end of both the Kyoto Protocol and the Millennium Development Goals. Both are UN processes which set targets for governments to meet.

The Kyoto Protocol covered carbon emissions, and the Millennium Development Goals gave a global framework to measure progress on ending poverty – from improving access to education to reducing the number of women dying in childbirth.

 2. It’s a year to make a new start. The end of past agreements means the pressure is on this year to set new goals and agreements to spur us on into the future.

In September, all eyes will be on New York, where there will be a major UN summit to agree a set of new Sustainable Development Goals. How far climate change is recognised in the new goals is still being negotiated. CAFOD is already involved, getting our overseas partners’ concerns heard at the highest level.

Next is Paris. By the end of 2015, all countries need to agree how they will cut carbon emissions and what collective action they will take to respond to the impact of changes in the climate (for instance, what funding they will provide to enable developing countries to cope with adapting to change).

Each country will make a pledge saying what they will do about climate change. The UK will pledge as part of the European Union.

Discussions have already started; some of the main pledges are expected to be agreed by March. The global deal itself needs to be thrashed out at a fortnight-long meeting called the COP 21 (Conference of the Parties) in Paris in December 2015.

For the sake of the communities that we work with, the deal needs to be ambitious, binding and fair to the poorest people.

Take action today and email party leaders telling them why you care about climate change.

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One Climate, One World: Live your life as witness

Hilary Farey

This blog – by Hilary in Bristol – is the sixth of a weekly series to launch our One Climate, One World campaign. We can all take small steps to better love our neighbours and care for creation – but it’s hard to know where to start! These blogs show how CAFOD supporters and parishes are playing their part – we’d love to hear what you’re doing too in the comments below.

CAFOD’s work in the developing world is threatened by climate change, so as a CAFOD supporter it’s important to make climate-friendly lifestyle changes.

Ours became a Livesimply parish in December 2012 and receiving the Livesimply award in 2012 was welcome recognition of work done to build friendships and community spirit in the parish. The biggest challenge was making sure as many people as possible were involved so we could keep the Livesimply profile high – a Livesimply Thought for the Week in our newsletter helped do this.

Shout it from the roof!

We installed our 16 solar panels when we were having some roof repairs and there was already scaffolding on the roof. They cost £22,000 to install and we now get free electricity in daylight hours, and about £1,000 a year through the feed-in-tariff (a fee from the government for energy fed into the national grid). It will take a long time before the panels pay for themselves, but in the meantime our electricity bill has fallen. Continue reading

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One Climate, One World: Everyone’s responsibility

 livesimply imageThis blog – by Paul in the Lancaster diocese – is the fifth of a weekly series to launch our One Climate, One World campaign. We can all take small steps to better love our neighbours and care for creation – but it’s hard to know where to start! These blogs show how CAFOD supporters and parishes are playing their part – we’d love to hear what you’re doing too in the comments below.

Climate change is a major threat to the developing world and is partly the result of how we live in developed countries. It’s counter-productive to provide aid and development support to poor countries while worsening their prospects through our own lifestyle, so we need to act, both by making things better and not making them worse!

That’s why St Joseph’s parish committed itself to living simply – we’re trying to care for creation because it’s God’s gift to us and to future generations, to be shared equally for the benefit of all.

Go on a carbon diet…

During Lent this year we asked parishioners to try a ‘carbon fast’, which meant driving less and walking or cycling to school or church. Driving just 20 fewer miles each week saves 120lbs of CO2!

More ideas on how you can play your part, save energy and care for creation >>

And at home, school and work we asked people to turn out the lights when leaving a room and unplugging power leads when laptops and electronic games etc. aren’t in use. We also had weeks focussing on eating less meat and reducing waste packaging (details are on our parish website).

Through these small acts we’re living more sustainably and taking only what we need – in other words, we’re living the Gospel values of care and greater solidarity with the poor. Continue reading

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One Climate, One World: Tackle climate change in church, home and garden

Home grown garden produce

Growing your own is one way to become more eco-friendly.

This blog – by John in the Westminster diocese – is the fourth of a weekly series to launch our One Climate, One World campaign. We can all take small steps to better love our neighbours and care for creation – but it’s hard to know where to start! These blogs show how CAFOD supporters and parishes are playing their part – we’d love to hear what you’re doing too in the comments below.

It’s a real challenge to want less in a consumer society where the emphasis is on having more. Climate change is partly a product of spiralling consumption and we need to remember that some of the most valuable things in life are free: loving each other and being loved, enjoying nature and creation in all its glory, being able to weep at the injustices in the world.

Climate change is one such injustice. Some parishioners in our multi-ethnic church, St John Vianney, have first-hand experience of its effects because they come from – or have family in – countries that are feeling its impact, including Bangladesh, Malaysia, the Philippines, Ghana, Nigeria, Liberia, Ethiopia, Congo and Kenya. Some are from central and south America.

Tackling climate change at home

As a Livesimply parish, living sustainably is our contribution to tackling this. It includes getting parishioners to recycle more, use low-energy bulbs, turn down the thermostat, support charity shops, use leftovers, consume less and walk more!

More ideas on how you can play your part, save energy and care for creation >>

It can be tricky to see where you need to make changes, so we used online calculators from WWF and the government to measure parishioners’ carbon footprints and figure out how we could shrink them.

The calculator highlights areas such as using low energy light bulbs and loft insulation, and loading the dishwasher when it has a full load and not after every meal. It also prompts you to choose an energy efficient A-rated product when buying a new kitchen appliance. Continue reading

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