Caring for our Common Home
Laudato si' (Medieval Central Italian for "Praise be to you") is the second encyclical of Pope Francis. The encyclical has the subtitle "On Care For Our Common Home". In it, the Pope critiques consumerism and irresponsible development, laments environmental degradation and global warming, and calls all people of the world to take "swift and unified global action"
Responding to Pope Francis' encyclical, we established an Eco Parish Group in Gardiner Street, led by a member of the Parish Pastoral Council. Eco Congregation Ireland's work is an inspiration to us and we have registered with a view to earning an award.
Our approach is to do what we can even if it is something small but to keep working towards higher goals. Simple tasks like a litter pick up by parishioners were very worthwhile. We are using FairTrade products where we can for catering at events in the church. Our disposable cups are compostable or else we use mugs and wash up afterwards. We are replacing lighting with energy efficient LED lights and have increased the amount of recycling we do. We have given parishioners sunflower seeds wrapped in twists of paper (parish bulletins reused!) - all were encouraged to take care to nurture their seeds- so that the cheery yellow sunflowers could grow and blossom reminding them that faith too can grow. Liturgy incorporates references to care of the environment and we have explored climate justice in a workshop facilitated by Catherine Devitt of the Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice. We support work in the developing world through our support of Trocaire and the Jesuit Mission Office.
- Buy a good reusable water bottle and use Tap Water instead of reaching for plastic bottled water. Saves money too!
- Does food get thrown away in your house? This is not good for the environment and is a waste of money. Are there ways of using left overs or would planning meals help?
- We can all play an important role in tackling climate change. Using a Carbon Calculator to help reduce our carbon count number is an easy way to take responsibility for the greenhouse gas emissions we create every time we heat our homes, drive our cars, take a flight, charge our mobile phones or turn on our computers. Find a calculator at http://www.epa.ie/climate/calculators/
- Life is so hectic that sometimes we use our cars because it is easier... but take time to think about the journeys you are likely to make next week. Can you leave your car at home and use the bus or Dublin Bikes or walk? It is more environmentally friendly, good for your health and may cost you less. Think Green!
- Instead of throwing out the dishwashing water, could you use it water your garden?
- "Our insistence that each human being is an image of God should not make us overlook the fact that each creature has its own purpose. None is superfluous. The entire material universe speaks of God's love, his boundless affection for us. Soil, water, mountains: everything is, as it were, a caress of God." (Pope Francis. "Laudato Si". 2005. Paragraph 84)