Since the publication of Laudato Si in May 2015, several faith-based groups have initiated projects intended to support work in ecological conservation, environmental activism, and advocacy for climate justice. One such project was launched by a number of churches and other ecumenical organizations in Canada to mark the 50th anniversary of Earth Day in 2020. Entitled, For the Love of Creation, (FLC) it is a national initiative with the goal of educating, reflecting, taking action and advocating on climate justice (https://fortheloveofcreation.ca/). It seeks to be theologically grounded, to support Indigenous self-determination, and to encourage youth empowerment. Its three main themes are: theological reflection, local and congregational engagement, and political advocacy.
To promote collaborative theological reflection, FLC has developed a series of questions for use in small group sessions. These will capture critical reflections towards the development of a Letter of the Faithful for the Love of Creation. This will be a grassroots pastoral letter to the church and wider society, laying out concerns, challenges and possible actions that Canadians can collectively advocate for as faithful responses to climate change.
To promote local engagement in small group dialogue, FLC has developed three guides which recognize that people are at different places when it comes to talking about climate change: 1) Creation, Climate and You is designed for those who have rarely, if ever, talked about climate change in a group setting, and focuses on surfacing peoples’ emotions and underlying thoughts about it. 2) From Concern to Action is for people who have a basic understanding of climate change or who are concerned about its effects but remain uncertain about the best ways to act in light of this reality. 3) Building a Better Future is meant for those who have already been involved in some form of climate action, and focuses on enacting political and systemic change to address the climate emergency.
In support of political advocacy, FLC plans to provide multiple points of engagement on policy issues because people are ready to engage in different ways. Among its actions and campaigns, FLC has collected 2,500 signatures for an e-petition calling on the government to: commit to increasing Canadian greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 60% below 2005 levels and invest in a just transition, honour the rights of Indigenous Peoples, commit equal support for climate change adaptation and mitigation measures in the Global South, and respond to the pandemic in the Global South. Sponsored by a Toronto area MP, the petition was presented in the House on November 6, 2020. Hoping to mobilize people across Canada to reduce household GHG emissions and demonstrate support for increased federal climate action, FLC has recently initiated a Faith-in-Action campaign. It will run from Ash Wednesday until the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi and will include a public witness event on April 22, 2021, Earth Day.
Faith-based, collaborative and practical, this project may well offer a Vincentian approach to care for our wounded planet.
The Vincentian Charism and Laudato Si’ is our effort to share various ways that Vincentians find their charism connects with Laudato Si’. We encourage your comments on these posts and welcome anyone interested in submitting an article to email Jim Paddon at firstname.lastname@example.org.