Written on: December 29, 2016
At our recent meeting, the Earth Committee, (which lay fallow during the great year of moving and readjustment,) revisited two major events that burst upon our world in 2016 and how they have subsequently affected our Earth. The first was Laudato Si! Care for Our Common Home, the encyclical that Pope Francis wrote to all people on the planet. This was received with enthusiasm by leaders of many faiths, as well as Catholics, and by significant environmental groups. In Buffalo, a Climate Justice Community formed, composed of various Protestant groups, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Catholics, Jews and members of the Sierra Club. There were gatherings to study the encyclical and see how the faith communities can implement integral ecology and advocate for our common home.
Pope Francis published his encyclical several months before COP 22, the Paris Climate Conference, which brought many nations of our world together to develop strategies on addressing global warming. The results, though not perfect, were amazing. Secretary of State, John Kerry, stressed that climate change is a moral issue, echoing the theme of Pope Francis. Each country pledged what it would do to keep the temperature from rising 2 degrees centigrade or less in the next years. They developed plans to achieve these goals and promised to report on progress every 5 years. Efforts for more developed countries, which cause more global warming, to financially assist poorer countries to meet their pledges were encouraged. In November 2016 the Paris agreement was signed by the required number of countries and went into effect.
As women in the Church, we need to be aware of offering faithful witness to the care of creation and practice integral ecology in making our choices and decisions. In the web of life all is connected, all is relational. Opportunities to advocate for the care of our common home will be abundant as we move into the future.
Members of Earth Committee:
Sr. Diane Bardol, leadership liaison
Sr. Carol Bartol
Sr. Barbara Harrington
Sr. Ann McKee
Sr. Maureen O’Hara
Sr. Sheila Stone, Chair