TODAY at 12:30 p.m. EST! A dialogue on “Faith, Politics, and Policy in 2022”
Georgetown University’s Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life will host online conversation today, February 1 at 12:30 p.m. Eastern, about how faith shapes politics and how politics shapes faith in 2022, with a New York Times religion reporter, a major evangelical leader, a director of a faith-based organizing network, a leader of Catholic advocacy in Indiana and the director of Georgetown’s new Center on Faith and Justice.
More Americans facing extreme weather, report says
More than 4 in 10 Americans live in a county that was struck by climate-related extreme weather last year, according to a Washington Post analysis of federal disaster declarations. At least 656 people died amid the onslaught of disasters and the cost of the destruction tops $104 billion, even before officials calculate the final toll of wildfires, drought and heat waves in the West. The study is another demonstration of why our cause and our actions are so urgent: People are suffering deeply from the effects of climate change.
Earth Day’s 2022 Theme: Invest In Our Planet
The global organizer of Earth Day announced the theme this year will be “Invest In Our Planet,” focused on engaging people, governments, institutions and businesses to recognize our collective responsibility and to help accelerate the transition to an equitable, prosperous green economy for all.
As is our tradition, the Covenant will use this theme to produce an Earth Day program for use in small group settings. Look for this soon!
A good read: Does a river have legal rights?
National Catholic Reporter’s Barbara Fraser wrote a fascinating story about legal action in court in Peru demanding that the Marañón River be recognized as having rights — essentially, that it be considered a legal person.
The lawsuit is the first such case in Peru and is part of a movement gaining momentum, as court rulings and legislation increasingly recognize that nature has rights, Fraser writes. The rights of rivers' movement, in particular, is grounded not only in the importance of aquatic ecosystems, but also in their spiritual significance, especially for Indigenous peoples.
EPA Announces Actions to Protect Overburdened Communities
Following his Journey to Justice Tour, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael S. Regan announced this week a series of actions responding directly to concerns of communities historically and disproportionately impacted by pollution. The actions range from policy changes to community-driven efforts. Administrator Regan’s announcement of the new actions state that the new efforts seek to deliver environmental justice, and work toward building a better America for all. Read the full statement here.
News from our Creation Care Teams
St. John the Baptist, Covington, WA: A recipient of a Victory Noll Sisters grant, the Creation Care Team of St. John the Baptist will create a pollinator garden using the Back to Eden method. The Creation Care Team has also invited parishioners to embrace their baptismal call in the area of stewardship of creation and to sign up for the Laudato Si’ Action Platform.
St. Joe's in Norman, OK, is offering internships to “get the energy and perspective of young adults into our group discussions.” The parish also planted a native Redbud in front of the Parish Center and sponsored an art contest to reach parishioners and those in the broader community.
St. Anthony of Padua, Fairfield, CT, named their newly formed group S.A.V.E. - St. Anthony’s Values the Environment. Clever! Some early accomplishments include a vegetable garden whose produce is donated to the Merton House, an organization that provides meals to the poor. The parish received a Victory Nolls Grant to enlarge and enclose the gardens.
St. John Neumann in Reston, VA, worked with the parish accountant and financial council to purchase renewable energy certificates to support the growth and development of renewable energy technologies nationwide. The REC purchase matches electricity usage and offsets natural gas usage. The parish is also hosting the first of a five-part diocesan webinar series on Feb 8 with Dr. Catherine Wright, who will discuss Why Catholics Care for Creation.
From the Diocese of San Diego: They report that last year their Core Team produced a Climate Action Plan for the diocese. They now have an implementation guide in English and Spanish. The Plan requires action responses at the individual, parish and civic community or advocacy levels. Each action level completed is recognized with a certificate of accomplishment. Once a parish CCT has completed all three action levels they are recognized by the bishop as a Laudato Si' Parish and certified to assist other parishes or schools to implement the Creation Care Action Plan.
News from Catholic Climate Covenant’s Partners
Franciscan Action Network invited members to participate in Living the Change, joining a multi-faith community around the world in choosing one new low-carbon lifestyle change between January 1-31.
Caritas International launched its new global campaign, TOGETHER WE, in celebration of its 70th Anniversary. The campaign, which runs until the end of 2024, intends to motivate people to act on the messages of Laudato Si' and Fratelli Tutti by supporting the formation of small groups in local communities around the globe to learn about Catholic Social Teaching and to develop activities for local and global impact.
The Leadership Conference of Women Religious is helping facilitate the participation of U.S. Religious in the Laudato Si’ Action Platform. More than 50 congregations of men and women religious have submitted commitment statements pledging to begin the journey this year! LCWR has also signed a number of letters and statements in support of environmental justice and shared action alerts with members.
The Inter-religious Working Group on Extractive Industries is advocating for the FOREST Act, which would bar imports into the U.S. of goods sourced through illegal deforestation. More than 60 groups signed onto a letter to members of Congress on this, many of them Catholic religious orders.
Great work all!