By Trish Sandbach, Commission Vice-Chair
Climate change has been a Commission priority area even before the publication of Laudato Si (LSI) in 2015. Projects in this arena have been workshops about Laudato Si as well as workshops and active support for CAFOD’s Live Simply award scheme. In 2020 several people in the diocese ‘graduated’ as Laudato Si Animators, linked to a UK national group, and the Commission works closely with them and a group of LSI supporters. The Commission has been instrumental in developing a Diocesan Environmental Policy which was ratified by the Diocesan Trustees in 2020.
We have established a Climate Change Action group to provide advice and help take forward the work of decarbonising the Diocese. The group is comprised of members from different parishes with expertise and experience in their various fields of work and interest. They have been involved in working towards raising awareness and taking action by a variety of means, including as professionals in their places of work, their homes and their parishes i.e. from individual to institutional action.
The group’s work with the diocese, before and during Covid, included meetings with Bishop Marcus and the then Chief Operating Officer who was also the Environmental lead for the diocese. During Covid we were part of planning reflective liturgies focusing on Creation, working with the Justice and Peace Spirituality group.
Zoom conversations and, more recently, meetings in person have taken place, focusing on decarbonisation and other related issues. It is fantastic to be able to report that the Diocese has now divested from fossil fuels. The news of this welcome move needs to be widely publicised in parishes and celebrated.
In a parish context this has often involved working with a team to draw up plans, with the support of the parish and the parish priest. to follow the Live Simply Award path by living simply, sustainability and in solidarity with the poor which is the backbone of the award. The group is very willing to share its experience and what it has learned from being part of the Live Simply process with other parishes and schools. The Live Simply Award Scheme is managed by CAFOD – so you can be assured of high-quality support from them as well. (firstname.lastname@example.org )
Our vision is to work together with the Diocesan Curia Laudato Si Environmental group to coordinate support, share knowledge and help parishes across the diocese to care for our common home – a challenge which includes hearing the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor. We have met on zoom and recently in person with some members of the curia and the Bishop to see how we might take this partnership further. We are working to intensify this partnership further with the new chief operating officer Jack McGrory and the Curia Team. Providing resources will be key to make things happen: finding out what are our current environmental & financial impacts; planning how we will improve our environmental performance; and deliver savings both in money and carbon terms. We are in the midst of a deepening climate emergency and need to work together to mitigate it as far as we can and to encourage all communities to do the same.
There is a pressing need in the diocese to share knowledge, improve communications and coordination between the Centre, parishes and other like-minded people and groups. It is vital that we provide support for parish clergy through their on-going formation programme and for adults working with the Vicariate for Education We are actively linked to some of the national initiatives e.g. Salford, Arundel, National Justice and Peace Network, Laudato Si Animators-UK
We all have a part to play as Laudato Si encourages us to do. Our Church can and must play a crucial role as more and more people are asking the basic question: How can we live in ways which sustain humanity and its future? Our Church has a unique faith perspective with which to answer this question – our task is to grasp that perspective and then share it with all those working to protect our common home. Lent provides a great opportunity to pray for Creation, for ecological conversion of ourselves and community, supported by fasting from damaging the Earth and the poor by our excessive consumption and taking action for justice.
We are rooted in prayer and Scripture, however we must be rooted in action too. We remain open to the power of the Holy Spirit. We stand on the brink of ‘seizing the day’ and bringing hope to these turbulent and challenging climate emergency times.
Want to get involved?
The Climate Action Group would be delighted to welcome anyone else who might be able to help them extend what they are already doing.
For more information simply email email@example.com