Creation care work at St Vincent de Paul School, Mt. Vernon, began in 2006 when the school received funding from the Knights of Columbus to purchase a dishwasher for their kitchen. Following this, the school began participating in the Hope Now program – an organization that provides used old donated doors to build tables. The school provides transportation to their annual K-6 field trip to The Brown Family Environmental Center at Kenyon College and their annual 5th grade summer camp through Lutheran Outdoor Ministries in Ohio (students take turns weighing food waste). Additional sustainability projects include collaboration with the parish and the local community. The school participated in an all-parish project through the Green Tree Plastics company’s A Bench for Caps sustainability program (students collected and sorted bottle caps in exchange for three benches). The school plans to create a grotto area using their three recycled benches. In order to foster green living and healthy community-school relations, the school provided planter flowers to local businesses.
Administrators at St. Vincent de Paul acknowledge the importance of maintaining social justice programs in accordance with Laudato Si's urgent message to care for the poor. Students from Beth’s Robinson's 6th grade social studies classes participate in a demographics project. Each year students select one continent, usually Africa, to learn more about the conditions of poverty. The class then raises money through various fundraisers and donate to parts of the continent through Catholic Relief Services. An upcoming project includes having students sew plastic bags together to create tarps to be donated to homeless shelters in the area.
Creation care work at Trinity Catholic (see link below) began when one teacher there took the initiative to organize student gardening activities on school grounds. Following her retirement, the school subsequently began an annual Earth Day project in which students pick up trash around the school and surrounding area. Additional creation care projects were added over time. As a means to support social justice issues in accordance with Laudato Si' principles, the school contributes to food pantries on a regular basis. The proceeds from the monthly cereal mornings are designated to various local charities as well. As a way to physically demonstrate to students how much food is wasted in a typical day, students could weigh and record the wasted food from the cafeteria over a two-week period.
Years ago, one of the technology instructors had received a small grant from a computer company, which was designed to have students complete various environmentally based activities in a contest format. At the end of the contest, the class had accumulated enough points to receive two computer cameras. Additional events and projects includes 4th and 5th grader participation in a 5-day environmental camp "Messages of the Earth" at the Stratford Ecological Center (see link below), two water fountains updated to accommodate individuals with disabilities, design of the water fountains to fill water bottles, and lights throughout the school buildings switched out to LED lights through the Diocesan grant program.
Andrea Pannell, Episcopal Moderator for the Columbus Catholic Diocese, has been instrumental in the progress of creation care work within the office of development and planning. She views part of her job as to "plant seeds" whenever possible. The Bishop Pastoral Council, comprised of representatives from deaneries within the metro area, attend periodic meetings to address critical creation care issues. One project takes place at Andrea's own parish, St. Dominic’s Church, in the Mt. Vernon neighborhood of Columbus. They had maintained a vegetable garden to provide food for those in the area, some of whom rely on walking to get their groceries. The garden continues to be the only place for some locals to receive fresh food, as the area is considered to be a food desert. The development office was also key in linking the diocese's 150th anniversary and Laudato Si' with their tree planting initiative, as well as connecting the themes of the anniversary with salient points of Laudato Si'. Additional plans for further connections with development, planning and stewardship are still in the works.
Pope Francis encourages all people to take to heart what is written in the Laudato Si' encyclical. The Catholic Multicultural Center in Madison, Wisconsin has strived to live out the message of Laudato Si' even prior its release. This community seeks to live as stewards of the environment and care for their less fortunate neighbors. Some examples of how they are achieving their goals include installing solar panels to cut costs and reinvest the money in charitable programs and running a local food garden. Members of this community have also helped to install rain gardens and find innovative ways of serving their neighbors. These activities help to bring people closer together as well as care for the planet.
Seven Congregations of Dominican Women Collaborate to Offer Sept. 10 Earth Stewardship Program in ColumbusThe Dominican Alliance Eco-Justice Committee is offering "Falling in Love with Earth Again" from 9:00am-3:00pm on Saturday, September 10 at the Martin de Porress Center in Columbus, OH. In the words of the organizers, the program will provide various avenues to “remind us of who we are as a part of this living Earth and renew our embodied human selves. Spend time with others pondering, celebrating, and creating your loving connection with Earth.”
Shepherd's Corner website provides details for their annual walk/run fundraiser:
Race check in and number pickup begins at 8:00 am. Pets are not allowed at the race.
"Partner with us in feeding the hungry. We are committed to donating 60-65% of our naturally grown produce to local food pantries. Proceeds from the race will benefit our food pantry gardens.
The 2019 overall race results can be found here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/18c83J34HEfYjibi5FmtDY3cfRtki-IWzavCHzuaRq2k/edit#gid=0
Become a partner in our efforts by becoming a sponsor for our 2020 race. You can become a sponsor online or print a sponsor brochure.
Make a donation to partner with us. Register for the race online or print a registration brochure and register by mail."
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: Migration and Refugee Services provides its mission statement on its website:
"Grounded by our belief in Jesus Christ and Catholic teaching, Migration and Refugee Services (MRS) fulfills the commitment of the U.S. Catholic bishops to protect the life and dignity of the human person. We serve and advocate for refugees, asylees, migrants, unaccompanied children, and victims of human trafficking."
Ignation Solidarity Network discuss their work as it relates to Pope Francis's Laudato Si' encyclical to care for creation and our common home. As stated in their website:
"In his historic encyclical on ecology, Laudato Si’, Pope Francis calls on all people to care for creation and our common home. Pope Francis makes clear that our care for one another and our care for the earth are intimately connected, noting that humanity is not faced 'with two separate crises, one environmental and the other social, but rather one complex crisis which is both social and environmental.' (Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home)."
"We ask our government leaders to demonstrate bold leadership in addressing the climate crisis by honoring the Paris Agreement, contributing to the Green Climate Fund, implementing the Clean Power Plan and supporting just transition and job creation."
Global Catholic Climate Movement discuss their identity and mission through the following excerpts from their website:
"Who we are
The Global Catholic Climate Movement is a first-of-its-kind international coalition of Catholics from many nations, continents, and walks of life. We are laity, religious, and clergy, theologians, scientists, and activists from Argentina, the Philippines, the United Kingdom, Kenya, Australia, the United States, and many other nations. We are united by our Catholic faith and our work in various roles and organizations on climate change issues."
"First, we recognize that conversations about the climate crisis have historically been more about intellectual arguments than about the profound spiritual and moral implications of our failure to care for God’s creation. Catholic leaders are thus called to speak with a prophetic voice and in a spiritual dialogue with all people, especially those political and business leaders and consumers who engage in climatically destructive policies and practices. And we recognize our own need for ongoing conversion to live more in keeping with the Creator’s intentions for life in abundance for all people. Until the moral implications of anthropogenic climate change are clearly established and accepted, it is unlikely that societies can or will transition in an appropriate timeframe to sustainable technologies, economies, and lifestyles."
The Association of United States Catholic Priests discuss their climate change initiative on their website. The following excerpt list the first five "Green Commandments" from Fr. Joshtrom Isaac Kureethadamof's book on Laudato Si':
"Earth, our common home, is in peril. Take care of it.
Listen to the cry of the poor who are the disproportionate victims of the crisis of our common home.
Rediscover a theological vision of the natural world as good news/gospel.
Recognize that the abuse of creation is ecological sin.
Acknowledge the deeper human roots of the crisis of our common home."
During the High-level event at the COP20 in Lima, Bishops from around the world called for a fair and legally binding climate agreement to be signed at the COP21 in Paris, 2015. One segment of the introduction is shown below:
"Following the evangelical option for the poor, we work closely with the most vulnerable communities and the excluded and as such are closely attuned to how the problem of climate change is affecting them. Our message to political leaders and all people of good will is rooted in the experience and suffering of these poor communities.
Humankind on the Planet Earth is ordained to live in equity, justice and dignity, peace and harmony in the midst of the order of Creation. Humankind is ordered to treat respectfully Creation, which has a value in itself. We Catholic Bishops recognize the atmosphere, rainforests, oceans and agricultural land as common good that require our care."
Address at the United Nations Climate Change Conference given by H.E. Archbishop James Patrick GreenH.E. Archbishop James Patrick Green provides a statement on the impact of climate change on poverty at the United Nations Conference in Lima, Peru on December 10, 2014. He discusses the interdependence of humans and the Earth. He emphasizes Pope Francis's call for intervention to fight against global warming in order to protect the planet and, in particular, those at the poverty level.