Laudato Si’ week runs from 19-24 May 2024. It is an opportunity to reflect on Catholic Social Teaching on Care for Creation. The following is an extract from an article written by David Nash following an event on 20th March, organised by the Diocesan Caritas team to reflect on  Care for our Common Home at St Catherine’s, Wimborne. The full article can be downloaded here.

“We were reminded of the Pope’s 2015 Encyclical Letter Laudato Si – the first encyclical in the Catholic Church to directly address the social and ecological crisis. Inspired by the example of St. Francis of Assisi, whose “Praise be to you”  shows us just how inseparable the bond is between concern for nature, justice for the poor, commitment to society, and interior peace, Pope Francis invites us to a radical ecological conversion and a spirituality filled with gratitude for the gifts of creation. Laudato Si directly addresses the complex social and ecological crisis we face today:

  • It emphasises our responsibility to care for our world and not exploit resources from future generations.
  • It recognises the intrinsic value of all creatures, not just humans.
  • It calls for protecting the climate and biodiversity as part of the common good.
  • It proposes lines of action at personal, political, and economic levels.
  • It demands a redefinition of progress that responds to both the cry of the poor and the cry of the earth.

I am aware of a number of sustainability initiatives. Developed by BioRegional and the WWF One Planet Living is a holistic framework designed to encourage sustainable living because 2022 ecological footprinting data indicates, that if everyone in the world consumed as much as the average person in western Europe, we’d need three planets to support us. It envisions a world where everyone lives happily and healthily within the Earth’s resources, leaving space for nature.

God gave human beings a special responsibility within creation to cultivate it, guard it and use it wisely. The Bible confirms this: God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. (Genesis 2:15). As God provides for us, humans should show they are thankful by taking care of what God has given them: The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. (Psalm 24:1)

Let’s be thankful and responsible because, as the comedian Rob Newman and activists like Greta Thunberg say, ‘there is no Planet B’”.