24th May, 2-4pm, Laudato Si’ Study Session, Vaughan House

Join Colette Joyce, the Westminster Justice and Peace Co-ordinator, on this, the 7th anniversary of the publication of Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’: On the Care of our Common Home for a fresh look at this prophetic teaching document on the environment.

About this event

We know there is a climate crisis and the need to change our lifestyles is urgent, but still we struggle to find common ground or workable programmes. COP26 has only taken us so far and there is much more to be done before CO27 in Egypt in November. How are we getting on as a Catholic community?

How can a re-reading of Laudato Si’ animate our efforts for change in our parishes and homes?

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Free. All welcome.

24th May – Circular Tree Walk from Westminster Cathedral

Plane Tree outside Westminster Cathedral

Join Colette Joyce, the Westminster Justice and Peace Co-ordinator, to mark the 7th Anniversary of the publication of Pope Francis’ Encyclical Laudato Si’: On the Care of Our Common Home (2015) with this wander around the scenic streets surrounding Westminster Cathedral, reflecting on some fascinating trees we will meet along the way.

About this event

Trees are essential to life on earth as we know it. They bind soil, remove carbon dioxide from the air and release oxygen, as well as providing a home for many species from birds to insects to squirrels.

This walk will include reflections on the importance of trees within the Christian tradition and invite contemplation of some of the many beautiful trees within easy walking distance of Westminster Cathedral.

Along the way we will consider, too, the significance we attach to trees – from the celebratory decoration of the Christmas tree to the solemn prayer before the wood of the cross.

Families and children welcome.

Meet outside Westminster Cathedral.

We will return to the Cathedral a little before 12noon or there is the option to leave the Walk in St James’ Park.

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Advance registration helps us to meet health and safety requirements. Thank you.

Laudato Si’ Week: 22nd-29th May 2022

More prayers for Laudato Si’ Week

Laudato Si’ Week is being celebrated during 22nd – 29th May. It reminds us of our duty towards and celebration of creation. To learn more and to get involved, check out the links.
To let us know what is happening in your parish please email Colette Joyce at justiceandpeace@rcdow.org.uk

The Laudato Si’ Encyclical, which was published in 2015, is a letter to the world from Pope Francis. In it he calls for dialogue and action concerning the care of what he calls “our common home”, and he urges all of us to take our duty to the natural environment, to animals and to poor people seriously. Click here to read or download a copy

The Laudato Si’ Movement (LSM) was formed as a result of the Encyclical. Under the umbrella of the Encyclical, it aims to activate the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics to tackle the climate and environmental crises. To educate about and enable participation in this undertaking, LSM initiated an online Course. Click here to visit their website

The Laudato Si’ Animators Course was first opened in July 2020 to a world-wide audience of potential activists. The Course teaches how the Laudato Si’ (LS) Encyclical fits into Catholic Social Teaching, describes the causes and consequences of climate change and encourages a personal ecological conversion. Participants are encouraged to be environmentally active in their parishes and in the wider community. Click here for more details of the course

Laudato Si’ Animators are people who have completed the Course and then got together for mutual support, discussions, ideas and actions. We have a Network of around 90 Animators and green activists, covering the 22 Dioceses of England and Wales. Their aim? Simply to spread the message of the Encyclical throughout the Catholic Church, in an effort to educate about the environmental crisis and to inspire action which will help to combat the dire situation. https://www.facebook.com/LSIUK

The Laudato Si’ Action Platform has been established by the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, in response to the Encyclical. It is designed to run for 7 years, encompasses 7 Sectors and has 7 general goals. We will all fit into one or another of the Sectors. The 7 Goals are designed to guide our actions. Under each general goal heading, actions are suggested for us to consider which will reduce our environmental footprint. Visit the Laudato Si’ Action Platform

Events

Tuesday 24th May, 10am-12noon: Circular Tree Walk from Westminster Cathedral – Join Colette Joyce, the Westminster Justice and Peace Co-ordinator, for this walk exploring trees in the vicinity of Westminster Cathedral to mark the 7th Anniversary of the publication of Laudato Si’. All welcome. Free. Book with Eventbrite

Tuesday 24th May, 2.00-4.00pm: Laudato Si’ Study Session at Vaughan House, 46 Francis Street (behind Westminster Cathedral), London, SW1P 1QN – Join Colette Joyce, Westminster Justice and Peace Co-ordinator, for a study session on ‘Laudato- Si’ on the seventh anniversary of its publication. All welcome. Free. Book with Eventbrite

Southern Dioceses Environment Network – supportive monthly Monday lunchtime online meetings on the second Monday of the month for Catholics and our friends who are committed to the care of creation. More details and how to join

All Creatures Great and Small – Reflecting on Biodiversity: Talks by John Paul de Quay and Mary Colwell

‘Biodiversity’ was the theme for the May meeting of the Southern Dioceses Environment Network on Monday 9th May 2022.

John Paul de Quay

Guest speaker John Paul de Quay from the Journey to 2030 project spoke on the need to safeguard nature to ensure the future and diversity of all life on earth which is essential for the health, wellbeing and prosperity of humanity.

What is biodiversity? It is the diversity of all living things which includes genetic diversity within and between species, and of ecosystems. This ensures the stability of the natural world.

Evidence shows that there has been on average 68% decrease in wildlife population sizes between 1970-2016 with some areas such as South America being affected more. Why is this happening? Changes in land due to farming, over-fishing, pollution and climate change. Loss of biodiversity happens due to these constraints on species.

Laudato Si’ states that we are dust of the Earth, as we breathe air and need water, nothing is indifferent to us. In Acts 6:26 it shows that nature provides everything we need to survive, not only healthy air and water, but our happiness and wellbeing. Throughout scripture nature is continually mentioned showing God’s immense care for biodiversity. If we hold the attitude that we are more important than nature, we have forgotten that we are ‘dust of the earth’. This connection with faith is essential and it is important to spread this knowledge especially in schools to give confidence that we can do something to change the situation.

Mary Colwell

We were also very fortunate to be joined by the environmentalist, Mary Colwell. Mary has been campaigning for 11 years for a UK GCSE in natural history which has now been agreed upon and is set to take effect in 2025. This is essential so children are able to learn about how wildlife relates to us, to fall in love with nature again, to encourage them to make the right decisions in the future.

She runs a charity called Curlew Action which aims to help protect the curlew population, which is a flagship species for conservation.

She has now begun writing her 4th book.

See http://www.curlewmedia.com/ for more information.

Southern Dioceses Environment Network

The next meeting takes place online on Monday, 13th June 2022, 12.45-2.00pm, with the theme ‘Sustainable Summers’

Southern Dioceses Environment Network

Laudato Si’ Study Session 24th May – 7th anniversary of publication!

Laudato Si' Study Session - 7th anniversary of publication!

Hosted by Westminster Justice and Peace Commission

Free entry, to register please visit: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/laudato-si-study-session-7th-anniversary-of-publication-tickets-329853740417


When: Tue, 24 May 2022, 14:00 – 16:00 BST

Where: Vaughan House, 46 Francis Street, London, SW1P1QN

About this event

Join Colette Joyce, Westminster Justice and Peace Co-ordinator, for a study session on ‘Laudato- Si’ on the seventh anniversary of its publication.

This is the second encyclical of Pope Francis entitled ‘care for our common home’ and the source of contemporary Catholic teaching on the environment. We are all aware of the ever growing climate crisis, and the urgent need to make changes to our lifestyles, but is there still a lack of clear direction or workable programmes to follow? There is clearly a lot of work to be done before COP-27 in Egypt this November.

This session will explore what progress we have made as a Catholic community, with the hope that a re-reading of Laudato Si will give us some further encouragement and direction to make changes within our parishes and homes.

All Creatures Great and Small: Reflecting on Biodiversity

Curlew study in pen, Adam Entwistle http://www.curlewmedia.com/what-is-a-curlew

Ahead of the next Southern Dioceses Environment Network meeting on Monday 9th May, Westminster Justice and Peace Communications Volunteer, Amy Smith, writes her reflections on the chosen theme of ‘Biodiversity’:

Biodiversity, the variety of life on Earth, is essential for the future of humanity. Climate justice i.e. the recognition of our shared responsibility to try to tackle the climate crisis is integral to our values at ‘Justice and Peace’ where we strive to protect our planet and those that inhabit it.

Climate change due to our burning of fossil fuels, is already happening and will only get worse if more actions aren’t taken; this is a huge threat to the biodiversity of our planet. Issues that threaten peace can also impact on biodiversity for example by affecting food production.  

The complex ecosystems that make up our planet are what enables humans to survive and thrive; we need fresh water, clean air, and plants and animals for food. Different animals and plants help to maintain a habitat that stable and sustainable. Due to the effects of an ever- warming planet an increasing number of plants and animals are facing the threat of extinction, currently as many as 27%. This is due to loss of habitats, food production, increased rates of disease and changes in physiology and behaviour. The decline of species can even accelerate climate change further. Any species that are affected can threaten their entire food chain.  

The effect of climate change on biodiversity can be seen prominently in the UK Curlew population, which are now seen as a flagship species in conservation education. Their population has halved over the last 20 years. They are useful bio-indicators as they are easy to spot and count and are a good reflection on less visible species and the health of an ecosystem. Their protection is critical for plant diversity and ecological stability.  

We continue to pray for The UN Biodiversity Conference, COP15, which is set to happen in Kunming, China, later this year, although the date has already been postponed several times. It will gather governments from around the world to agree to new goals to protect our natural world over the next decade.  

The Southern Dioceses Environment Network will discuss biodiversity at its next monthly meeting on Monday 9th May, 12.45-2.00pm online.

ALL CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL: REFLECTING ON BIODIVERSITY

Monday 9th May, 12.45-2.00pm

Guest Speakers: John Paul de Quay (Journey to 2030) & Mary Colwell (Curlew Media)

Southern Dioceses Environment Network

Earth Day – 22nd April – Invest in Our Planet

By Amy Smith, Westminster Justice and Peace Communications Volunteer

Today, 22nd April, is Earth Day – an annual event that shines a light on the serious environmental issues that our world is facing and what actions we can take as individuals and organisation to keep temperature rises below 1.5 C and promote a greener future.

It involves a wide range of events involving 1 billion people in more than 193 countries.

The official theme for 2022 is ‘Invest in Our Planet’.

Every Earth Day can drive a year of energy, enthusiasm and commitment to create a new plan of action for our planet.

Earth Day works in countries around the world to drive meaningful action for our planet across a range of issues. For more information on the campaigns and to find out what is happening in your area this Earth Day: https://earthday.org/earth-day-2022

Earth Day Video – “We can still get the job done…”

Join the Southern Dioceses Environment Network for monthly prayer, sharing and discussion on all matters concerning the Catholic response to care of creation.
Next meeting: Monday 9th May, 12.45-2.00pm.
Click here for full details

Resonate: Westminster Youth Service – Colette Joyce to speak on Caring for Creation in London and Hertfordshire, 7th April, 7-9pm, Vaughan House

Colette Joyce, the Westminster Justice and Peace Co-ordinator, will be the guest speaker for this month’s Westminster Youth Service Resonate evening for young adults at Vaughan House, 46 Francis Street, London, SW1P 1QN. She will be updating us on the environment work taking place in the Diocese and discussing the contribution that young adults can make in their parishes and beyond. Interested? Sign up here

Bishop John Arnold among church leaders urging UK government to cut use of fossil fuels

Source: A Rocha / Independent Catholic News

Former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, and more than 50 Anglican and Catholic Bishops have signed letter to the UK government calling for a windfall tax on fossil fuel companies to tackle the cost of living crisis and energy efficiency measures to reduce heating bills.

Ahead of the Government’s Spring Statement and energy security strategy, more than 200 UK church leaders have written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak calling on them to use these opportunities to tackle the climate emergency and address the cost of living crisis.

The letter, signed by former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, says: “We call on you to use the Spring Statement to provide financial and fiscal support for renewable energy and energy efficiency, especially solar and wind energy and the retrofitting of homes and other buildings across the UK. These measures would reduce heating bills, decrease carbon emissions and increase our energy security.”

Other signatories to the letter include the lead environment bishops for the Church of England, Rt Rev Graham Usher, the Bishop of Norwich, the Catholic Church in England and Wales, Rt Revd John Arnold, Bishop of Salford, and the Catholic Church in Scotland, Most Revd William Nolan, Archbishop of Glasgow.

Church leaders from across the country have signed the letter including leaders of the Methodist Church, Scottish Episcopal Church, Church in Wales, United Reformed Church, Baptist Union, Quakers and Jesuits in Britain, among others.

They urge the Government to implement a windfall tax on fossil fuel companies to address the cost of living.

They write: “The Spring Statement must include no support for new oil and gas developments. The International Energy Agency has stated that there can be no new fossil fuel developments if we are to limit global heating to 1.5°C. New oil and gas production will not deliver lower energy bills for families facing fuel poverty and will have no impact on energy supply for years.

“We urge you to increase support for vulnerable households across the UK facing a cost of living crisis as a result of increasing food and energy prices, through measures including a windfall tax on oil and gas companies.”

They add that many of their churches have set a 2030 target for reducing their emissions to net zero:

“Many of our Churches have set 2030 net zero targets and are taking action to decarbonise our buildings, including through the installation of solar panels, heat pumps and other energy efficiency measures. More than 2,000 churches across the UK participated in Climate Sunday ahead of COP26 and called on the UK Government to unleash a clean energy revolution and limit global heating to 1.5°C.”

A number of charities support the statement:

Patrick Watt, Interim CEO of Christian Aid, said: “The war in Ukraine has been a stark reminder that a world which relies on oil and gas is a world that is economically and politically combustible, as well as being environmentally disastrous. This is the moment we need to fundamentally rethink our energy system, and break the power of petro-autocrats for good by switching to clean, affordable, home grown renewables as fast as we can.

“If the UK is to be taken seriously as a global leader on climate change it needs to take this opportunity to accelerate the roll out of renewables as well as widespread energy efficiency measures which have been overdue for many years.

“A rush for fracking or more North Sea oil would undermine efforts to tackle climate change and endanger some of the poorest and most vulnerable people in the world who are dealing with the impacts of the climate crisis and look to the UK to lead the way in decarbonisation, not pursuing more polluting fossil fuels.”

Christine Allen, Director of CAFOD, said: “This statement next week comes at a crucial time for the world’s energy industry. It’s never been more clear, nor more urgent, that we need a just transition to a low carbon economy. For the world’s poor, access to energy is a matter of survival.

“For humanity to be sustainable, all of our energy must come from renewable sources if we are to have any chance of protecting our common home for all of our sakes. The time to finally move away from fossil fuels is now, we hope the government with all its power and resources will lead by example to make this ground-breaking transition a reality.”

Revd Dr Darrell Hannah, Chair of Operation Noah and Rector of All Saints, Ascot , one of the signatories of the letter, said: “The Prime Minister and Chancellor must act now to insulate millions of British homes, scale up renewable energy, give more support to struggling households and immediately stop all new oil and gas developments, as scientists say we must to avoid catastrophic climate impacts.

“It would be completely irresponsible for the UK Government to enable new fossil fuel projects in the North Sea only four months after the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow. The time is now for bold measures including a windfall tax on oil and gas companies, who are reaping billions of pounds in profits while families around the UK, including many of our parishioners, are struggling to heat their homes and put food on the table.”

Andy Atkins, Co-Chair of Churches’ Environmental Issues Network, and CEO of A Rocha UK, said: “Thousands of churches are sending aid to Ukraine, continuing to deepen their own action on climate change and supporting the poor and vulnerable locally, through foodbanks and other means. Next week’s statement is a crucial opportunity for the government, with its far greater resources, to wholeheartedly embrace a rapid and fair transition to a low carbon economy.”

Dr Ruth Valerio, Director of Advocacy and Influencing at Tearfund, said: “The Ukraine conflict has exposed the fragility of our energy system if it relies on fossil fuels. Let’s not go back to polluting oil and gas when renewable solutions are cheaper, cleaner and more secure. Our response to the energy security crisis can’t add fuel to the climate crisis.”

See the full text of the church leaders’ open letter and full list of signatories here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ZVkcT5VKz45P3tzdv2mKwznhyKRduubUqrx5_pcNX9U/edit

Bishop John Arnold Speaks to the Southern Dioceses Environment Network https://westminsterjusticeandpeace.org/2022/02/14/bishop-john-arnold-speaks-to-the-southern-dioceses-environment-network-14th-february-2022-showthelove/

Next Meeting – Southern Dioceses Environment Network: Monday 14th March, 12.45-2.00pm

The next meeting of the Southern Dioceses Environment Network will allow some time for prayer and reflection on how we sustain ourselves for the journey as climate activists during this Season of Lent.

Monday 14th March, 12.45-2.00pm: Nourishment for Lent
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There is a break for Easter in April and then the next meeting in May will focus on Biodiversity, as the world prepares for the UN Biodiversity Conference, COP15, in Abidjan, Côte D’Ivoire from 9th-20th May 2022  https://www.unccd.int/cop15

Monday 9th May, 12.45-2.00pm
All Creatures Great and Small:
Reflecting on Biodiversity

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This developing network for all Catholics and our friends who care about creation meets monthly online on the second Monday of the month and also organises other events online and in-person when this is possible. Some events take place jointly with the Northern Dioceses Environment Group, as we all work together to animate the Catholic community in the long-term task of stabilising our climate and protecting our common home.

We are inspired by the principles of Catholic Social Teaching set out by Pope Francis in the encyclical Laudato Si’ and the teachings on care for the earth and one another found in the Scriptures.

Participants include CAFOD and Diocesan staff and volunteers, Laudato Si’ Animators, clergy, parishioners, religious and activists. All are welcome.

For more details and recordings of past events visit:
https://westminsterjusticeandpeace.org/southern-dioceses-environment-network/