“Young people demand change. They wonder how anyone can claim to be building a better future without thinking of the environmental crisis and the sufferings of the excluded. I urgently appeal, then, for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet. We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all.”
(Pope Francis, Laudato Si’, 13-14)
Pope Francis has a special care for creation and has made it a priority of his pontificate. First he took the name ‘Francis’, honouring St Francis of Assisi, patron saint of the environment, then he produced the encyclical ‘Laudato Si’ in 2015.
Q. What is the Season of Creation? Where does the idea come from?
- It runs for a whole month from the Day of Prayer for Creation on 1st September through to the Feast of St Francis of Assisi on 4th October.
- The Season of Creation has grown out of the celebration of Harvest-tide, which is traditionally celebrated in the autumn in the UK. However, this only applies in the northern hemisphere! The harvest is gathered at other times in other countries.
- Creation-tide is a celebration that can be marked across the whole world at the same time.
- Harvest Festivals in the UK can be celebrated as part of the Season of Creation. Typically, this is a time for generosity and sharing of our abundance with others.
- The Season of Creation is an invitation to celebrate the whole of the natural world, in addition to the food that we harvest.
- It is ecumenical, involving 2.2 billion Christians worldwide.
- As well as a celebration, the Season also involves a call to protect our planet, people, plants and animals from the grave environmental threats we face.
Q. What can Schools do?
- Give assemblies and lessons on how to care for creation.
- Use the Noah Day Resources from the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales
- Arrange nature walks and time outdoors.
- Explore the science of environmental issues.
- Explore the school resources for the papal encyclical, Laudato Si’
- Make displays about biodiversity, climate justice, land use and habitat loss, food, harvest and how our faith inspires our care for the earth.
- Start a school environment group. If you already have a group, give them a platform e.g. profile them on your website, let them lead a school assembly or run a whole-school campaign.
- Hold a Care of Creation liturgy in class prayer time.
- Use the CAFOD St Francis Novena, Care of Creation Rosary or other prayers.
- Organise a litterpick.
- Enter the Justice and Peace Video Competition to record your efforts.
Song for COP26
Ten year-old singer Jessie Lou Harvie features, together with hundreds of young people, in this beautiful music video ‘From a Distance’ – filmed across Glasgow. The song calls upon everyone to help in the climate movement, especially the leaders coming to Glasgow in November for COP26.
Q. What about school strikes and climate marches?
Greta Thunberg from Sweden started the Fridays for Future movement in 2018. She has inspired children around the world to strike – miss school on Fridays – to draw attention to the fact that young people need a future.
Education is pointless if there is no life left on the planet in the future because of our carelessness now!
She took a year off to draw attention to this cause and made a huge impact, famously addressing a meeting of the United Nations and saying ‘How dare you?’
We can’t all do that, but it is good that Greta and other young leaders have taken this to the highest level.
Children worldwide have missed out on a lot of their education because of coronavirus so it important that everyone gets to spend as much time as possible in school this year, but there are other ways to raise your voice. Use social media on Fridays! Find out what is happening at COP26 and support CAFOD campaigns.
Join the Global Day of Action for the Climate with CAFOD on Saturday 6th November 2021 during COP26.
Petition your teachers and national government to ‘teach the future’ and prepare you to engage in these great debates of our times and change the way business, agriculture, politics and economics works.