Vatican, environmental institute release action guide for sustainability

1 min read
Vatican environment
A cormorant is seen perched in a tree on Lake Meade in East Berlin, Pa., July 27, 2019. Pope Francis' 2015 encyclical "Laudato Si', on Care for Our Common Home" was widely lauded for its scope on the moral and ethical response to protecting Earth's environment for future generations. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — To help local parishes, schools, other groups and individuals reflect on the practical and concrete action they can take to help tackle today’s environmental challenges, the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development and the Stockholm Environment Institute have released a guidebook.

The cover of “Our Common Home: A Guide to Caring for Our Living Planet” is seen in this screen grab. (CNS photo/screen grab from SEI)

Titled, “Our Common Home: A Guide to Caring for our Living Planet,” the 20-page, full-color guide connects scientific facts and figures on key environmental issues with reflections and teachings from Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical “Laudato Si‘, on Care for Our Common Home.”

The guide “aims to empower” local churches and local community efforts “with inspiration, with introspection, with careful consideration of what has to change,” Cardinal Michael Czerny, the dicastery prefect, said during an online news conference Feb. 14.

The guide “calls for urgent and immediate climate action” and provides clear information, “inspiration and tools essential for community based responses,” he added.

It represents “an important and hopeful collaboration between two great sectors: that of science, and that of faith,” he said. “The call to protect, care and regenerate creation must be a priority for everyone, regardless of one’s belonging to this or that religion or none at all.”

The booklet is available online or in print in five languages. It covers problems such as food waste, air pollution, water insecurity and biodiversity loss, offers spiritual reflection and suggests practical action to build a more sustainable future.

The joint initiative also encouraged people to join the Laudato Si’ Action Platform, which helps Catholic institutions, communities and families implement the encyclical’s teaching.

The platform’s director, John Mundell, is a Catholic and an earth scientist and environmental engineer. Launched in November 2021, the platform now has nearly 7,000 participants, he said during the Feb. 14 news conference.

Participants represent more than “3,000 families and individuals, 150 dioceses and 385 parishes, 540 religious congregations and 700 religious communities, 1,050 educational institutions and 800 hospitals, healthcare agencies, businesses and organizations,” he said.

The platform’s “ground-up approach inspired by Pope Francis’ encyclical” has one clear goal, he said: “to inspire and empower everyone to take practical and concrete decisive action, here and now as we journey toward a better future together.”

The guidebook can be downloaded in five languages here.

The guidebook can be viewed on mobile or desktop here.

Catholic News Service

Catholic News Service has reported from the Vatican since the founding of its Rome bureau in 1950.