‘Hope for our world’; a reflection on volunteering with ‘Justice and Peace’

I have been privileged to attend the ‘Southern Environment Diocesan Network’ meetings, which are open to all with participants including members of CAFOD, Diocesan staff and volunteers, Laudato Si’ Animators, clergy, parishioners, religious and activists. We have met together for mutual support and encouragement for our efforts to tackle climate change in our work and home environments.

We were fortunate to receive input on all aspects of the climate, in order for us to inform those around us. Recently we learnt about ‘Biodiversity’ and how Climate Change is causing widespread devastation to all species and habitats on this planet. Clearly, there needs to be a dramatic reduction in our carbon emissions as individuals and organisations in order to protect the future and diversity of all life on earth. The mission of the network is inspired by the principles of Catholic Social Teaching set out by Pope Francis in his encyclical ‘Laudato Si’ which draws upon scripture to highlights our duty as Catholics to care for the earth and each other.

For me the experience highlighted the reality and urgency of the crisis which is often easy for us to forget amongst the business of our lives and the fact that real change is only possible if we take responsibility as individuals. It is only by the accumulation of our efforts that there can be hope for the future of life on this earth. With prayer and support of one another, we can have the strength to ‘take up our cross’ (Matthew 16: 24,26) whatever form this may take so we can protect God’s creation for future generations.

By Amy Smith


Southern Diocese Environment Network