North London parishes mark Creation Day with a picnic and Tug of War

CreationDaySt Mellitus Justice and Peace group organised a splendid picnic in Finsbury Park, north London, to mark the World Day of Prayer for Creation yesterday, Sunday 3 September. The weather was not on their side, but it did not stop all present, including Fr John O Leary, parish priest, from having a great time.

A sprinkling of parishioners from St John Vianney’s West Green and St Thomas More, Manor House Parishes, as well as Catholic Worker members, made it possible to organise two Tug of War teams – St Mellitus versus the Rest of the World.

Alas, St Mellitus proved greatly superior to the latter – a mystery to Fr Joe Ryan, a former Irish champion in this sport! Food to bring and share was abundant so that a pile of respectable leftovers was donated to the nearby Catholic Worker. All appreciated the joys of creation amongst many other picnicking groups. This is St Mellitus’ third Creation picnic. The parish looks forward to many more, with the silly games that are such a fun feature!

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Westminster Justice and Peace deeply disappointed by US environment backtracking

The Westminster Justice and Peace Commission is deeply disappointed by the actions of President Trump regarding energy and climate change, which cuts across all the endeavours of Pope Francis and the Catholic Church towards a new way of caring for creation.

On 29 March 2017 Donald Trump signed legislation – an Energy Independence Executive Order – which has undermined all Barack Obama’s policies to combat climate change by reducing emissions from fossil fuels. Central to the changes is a review of Barack Obama’s clean power plan – a pledge to cut US emissions by 26-28% by 2025 – which paved the way for the Paris agreement on tackling climate change involving 195 countries

Through this action, he has swept away green legislation at a stroke of the pen, and has enforced his statement that global warming was a ‘hoax’ invented by the Chinese. Crucially, the Paris accord of 2015 has been seriously undermined on greenhouse emissions and his actions also threaten to derail the worldwide fight against global warming. His plan will therefore make it impossible for the US to meet its Paris obligations.

Yet the US is the world’s second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases – behind China, and most of the world looks to the US for leadership and shared responsibility when it comes to saving our planet for future generations. When leaders of poorer nations see the lack of resolve on the part of the US they are likely to think twice about investing cash into schemes that will not produce immediate results in their political lifetime.

To be committed to climate change means that one has to be there for the long haul and work to pass on a sustainable world to future generations. There is NO ‘quick fix’ which is what many people would like in life. Environmental groups and all who are concerned with the care of our planet need to unite together in a sustained plan of action. We need to proclaim the message of Laudato Si, Pope Francis’ letter on ‘the care of our common home’, as never before. We must not be diverted by those who either deny or are indifferent to the task in hand. Now is the hour for renewed efforts.

Fr Joe Ryan (Chair) and Barbara Kentish (Fieldworker)

On behalf of Westminster Justice and Peace Commission

For further information contact the Commission on 0208 888 4222

justice@rcdow.org.uk

Caring for the Environment: Justice, Faith and You

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There will be a panel event on interfaith Environmental Concerns at Fyvie Hall, Regent Street Campus on Thursday 23rd March 2017 between 6:30pm and 8:30pm. All are welcome.

To register for this event, please see: http://interfaith-and-environment.eventbrite.co.uk

The panel includes the following speakers:

Chair: Roland Dannreuther, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Westminster

Barbara Kentish, from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Westminster Justice & Peace Commission

Maiya Rahman, Campaigns Coordinator of Islamic Relief UK

Andreas Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos, Professor of Law & Theory at the University of Westminster

Don de Silva, Buddhist environmentalist, journalist, and CEO of Changeways International

Science, Justice, Faith and Care for the Earth – update

We still have tickets left for this event at the Cruciform Building, UCL on 6 February at 7 pm.

The event is free and open to the public, but please r.s.v.p. on Eventbrite.

We’re joining the Newman House University Chaplaincies for an evening panel discussion on the ramifications of Laudato Si’, Pope Francis’ groundbreaking encyclical on climate change.

Open discussion and reception will follow.

Speakers will be as follows:

Professor Clare Grey, Cambridge

Materials Chemist, Lithium Air Battery project leader

http://www.ch.cam.ac.uk/person/cpg27

Rev. Dr. Martin Poulsom SDB, Heythrop

Creation Theologian

http://www.heythrop.ac.uk/staff/dr-martin-poulsom-sdb

Professor Anne Power, LSE

Climate Change and Social Policy

http://www.lse.ac.uk/researchAndExpertise/Experts/profile.aspx?KeyValue=anne.power@lse.ac.uk

See also www.twitter.com/LSEhousing

Richard Solly, London Mining Network

Head of an advocacy group for London Miners

See www.twitter.com/LondonMining

Quotes from Laudato Si’ for Homilies or Newsletters – January 2017

Creation quotes for newsletters from the Laudato Si  encyclical of Pope Francis

We suggest that parishes use these quotes  throughout the year.   We will send them in ‘batches’ rather than the whole year all at once, so they don’t get forgotten with the New Year resolution!   (LS  plus number =  the source paragraph of Laudato Si).

For a collection of all the quotes for the liturgical year, please see the Resources Page.

Period 2   Theme: Peace and Justice
(including Peace and Homelessness Sundays, New Year to Ash Wednesday)

Week beginning Sunday 1st January 2017 (perhaps a sentence to remind people, e.g. ‘Pope Francis says:’)

Exposure to atmospheric pollutants produces a broad spectrum of health hazards, especially for the poor, and causes millions of premature deaths. (But) the climate is a common good, belonging to all and meant for all. At the global level, it is a complex system linked to many of the essential conditions for human life. (LS 20, LS 23)

Week beginning Sunday 8th January

Very solid scientific consensus indicates that we are presently witnessing a disturbing warming of the climatic system. Humanity is called to recognize the need for changes of lifestyle, production and consumption, in order to combat this warming or at least the human causes which produce or aggravate it.(LS 23)

Week beginning Sunday 15th January

A number of scientific studies indicate that most global warming in recent decades is due to the great concentration of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrogen oxides …) released mainly as a result of human activity… The problem is aggravated by a model of development based on the intensive use of fossil fuels, which is at the heart of the worldwide energy system.     (LS 23)

Week beginning Sunday 22nd January

Many of the poor live in areas particularly affected by phenomena related to warming, and their means of subsistence are largely dependent on natural reserves and ecosystemic services such as agriculture, fishing and forestry. They have no other financial activities or resources which can enable them to adapt to climate change or to face natural disasters, and their access to social services and protection is very limited. (LS 25)

Week beginning Sunday 29th January

There has been a tragic rise in the number of migrants seeking to flee from the growing poverty caused by environmental degradation. They are not recognized by international conventions as refugees; they bear the loss of the lives they have left behind, without enjoying any legal protection whatsoever. Sadly, there is widespread indifference to such suffering, which is even now taking place throughout our world.(LS 25)

Week beginning Sunday February 5th

Many professional(s) live far from the poor … This lack of physical contact and encounter, … can lead to a numbing of conscience … Today, however, we have to realize that a true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor. (LS  49)

Week beginning Sunday February 12th

To blame population growth instead of extreme and selective consumerism on the part of some, is one way of refusing to face the issues. It is an attempt to legitimize the present model of distribution, where a minority believes that it has the right to consume in a way which can never be universalized, since the planet could not even contain the waste products of such consumption. (LS  50)

Week beginning Sunday February 19th

People may well have a growing ecological sensitivity but it has not succeeded in changing their harmful habits of consumption which, rather than decreasing, appear to be growing all the more.  A simple example is the increasing use and power of air-conditioning.  (LS  55)

Week beginning Sunday February 26th

If we are truly concerned to develop an ecology capable of remedying the damage we have done, no branch of the sciences and no form of wisdom can be left out, and that includes religion and the language particular to it. The Catholic Church is open to dialogue with philosophical thought; this has enabled her to produce various syntheses between faith and reason. The development of the Church’s social teaching represents such a synthesis with regard to social issues; this teaching is called to be enriched by taking up new challenges. (LS 63)

Science, Justice, Faith and Care for the Earth

On 6 February, we’re joining the Newman House University Chaplaincies for an evening panel discussion on the ramifications of Laudato Si’, Pope Francis’ groundbreaking encyclical on climate change.

Open discussion and reception will follow.

The event is free and open to the public, but it is essential to r.s.v.p. on Eventbrite.

Speakers will be as follows:

Professor Clare Grey, Cambridge

Materials Chemist, Lithium Air Battery project leader
http://www.ch.cam.ac.uk/person/cpg27

Rev. Dr. Martin Poulsom SDB, Heythrop

Creation Theologian
http://www.heythrop.ac.uk/staff/dr-martin-poulsom-sdb

Professor Anne Power, LSE

Climate Change and Social Policy
http://www.lse.ac.uk/researchAndExpertise/Experts/profile.aspx?KeyValue=anne.power@lse.ac.uk
See also www.twitter.com/LSEhousing

Richard Solly, London Mining Network

Head of an advocacy group for London Miners
See www.twitter.com/LondonMining

Laudato Si’ Toolkit

Following from our Laudato Si’ and Care of Creation – Where Next? workshops, we’ve put together this set of resources for parishes and groups wishing to review some of the content of those workshops, or maybe take things a bit further.

You can download the items individually below, or download the entire pack in an archive.

  • What Do We See? (PowerPoint) (CAFOD Westminster)
    The CAFOD “See” presentation from the workshops.
  • Judge: Climate and Faith (PowerPoint)
    The Westminster Justice and Peace “Judge” presentation from the workshops.
  • Act: How do we Respond? (pdf) (Caritas Westminster)
    The Caritas “Act” presentation from the workshops.
  • Reducing Your Environmental Footprint (pdf) (RCDOW)
    The Diocese of Westminster handbook for reducing parish waste and managing resources.
  • Followup Pointers (Word document) (CAFOD / ColumbansUK)
    If you would like your parish to take action to fight climate change, these eight simple tasks will put you on the right path.
  • The Universe Story – Cosmic Walk (pdf)
    Take a journey through the history of the universe and our planet, accompanied by prayer and contemplation; a fantastic way of promoting climate responsibility through liturgy.

Westminster Diocese is lowering carbon emissions

Conor Gearty, Lord Stern & Anne Power, 10th March 2016We have been working on climate for years.   Recently we helped to publicise  a meeting at LSE with Lord Nicholas Stern and Conor Gearty about the contribution of Laudato Si.   Now J&P, CAFOD and CARITAS are clubbing together to run some workshops around the diocese.  The diocesan property department has put out a handout on reducing our Environmental Footprint*.      See our poster  with the 3 dates:   24th September in Hitchin, 1st October in Chiswick and 15th October in Kensington.

FINAL Laudato Si Poster

You can also have a look at the diocesan advice on how to green your parish buildings and property, and what to think about if your parish wants solar panels.

*DOW Reducing Environmental Footprint HANDOUT – April 2016

Selecting Solar Panels – final draft (4)

Come along to our workshops and get stuck into cutting the carbon!  The UK Climate Act sets us a target of reducing emissions by 80% by 2050.  What can WE do to help?

Lord Stern on Climate Change and Laudato Si’ at LSE

Conor Gearty, Lord Stern & Anne Power, 10th March 2016.jpg
The LSE Student Catholic Society and the Department of Housing and Communities held an exciting discussion on Thursday March 10th, with renowned environmental economist Lord Nicholas Stern, and Human Rights professor Conor Gearty, who is also a Catholic. The dialogue between these two was chaired by Catholic Anne Power, professor of Social Policy and head of LSE Housing and Communities department. The discussion was attended by a packed audience of around 135 people in a hall designed for 120, and was a mix of academics and church climate activists. Lord Stern endorsed many of the points made by Pope Francis, on the need for solidarity between rich and poor worlds, and the necessity of a carbon tax in order to support sustainable development in poorer countries. He highlighted the success of the Paris Climate Talks, where 195 nations had agreed on a global strategy on climate change, without minimising the fragility and difficulties of such an agreement. When asked about the Pope’s denial that population increase was contributing to the problem, he answered that while he felt that this was an issue, he agreed with Pope Francis that it was not the main one, and that population was in any case decreasing for a number of reasons, separately from the climate issue. Lord Stern thought that action could take place on several levels, but that acting in community with others we could encourage and be encouraged by change. One of the factors which had altered the thinking of governments since the Copenhagen talks was seeing the many alternatives possible to our carbon emitting economies. We could continue to work with communities but also to lobby our political leaders to focus on reducing our use of fossil fuels according to the targets we set ourselves in Paris.

The event was supported and publicised by Westminster Justice and Peace. LSE is producing a transcript of the discussion which will be available shortly.