Earlier this week people in countries around the world marked Earth Day – an annual reminder of our responsibility to take care of the planet for future generations.
According to the organisers, more than billion people – politicians, celebrities, students, faith communities – took part in activities to raise awareness, promote clean up campaigns or simply to spark greater reflection on why and how we are called to become better stewards of God’s creation.
One Irish missionary who’s dedicated several decades of his life to galvanising greater environmental awareness within the Catholic Church is Columban Fr Sean McDonagh. The author of numerous books, articles, blogs and a regular participant at international conferences on the environment, Fr Sean was passing through Rome this week and spoke to Philippa Hitchen of Vatican Radio about the issues at stake at the UN summit in June to be held in Rio de Janeiro, 20 years on from the first landmark Rio ‘Earth Summit’.
Listen at: http://www.radiovaticana.org/EN1/Articolo.asp?c=582601
The Rio+20 Earth Summit in June is also the subject of a short video produced by Stop Climate Chaos, a coalition that includes Columban JPIC, CAFOD, Progressio and many other faith groups and organisations. It highlights some of the successes and campaigns of the past 20 years, including The Wave lobby on Climate Change of December 2010, where Archbishop Vincent Nichols was a speaker and 65,000 climate campaigners formed a circle around parliament calling for climate action. See: http://www.stopclimatechaos.org/rio-connection
For those who like an opportunity to look in depth at the hot issue of sustainable development, consider the Catholic People’s Week ‘More Canticles and Compost’, to be held 28 May – 1 June at Ammerdown Centre, near Bath. It will reflect on the radical messages of St Francis of Assisi and how to respond to them. Also, it will look at some of the issues that will feature at Rio+20.
Through talks, workshops and liturgy the Ammerdown team of Mike Monaghan, Ellen Teague and Chaplain Fr Tom Cullinan hope to continue their own searchings for the ways forward assisted by the insights of all members of the Week. Mary Colwell, a leading environmentalist and media producer, will also be speaking. There will be plenty of time for reflection in the peace and beauty of Ammerdown.
Full details at: http://www.catholicpeoplesweeks.org.uk