Southern Dioceses Environment Network



2022 Meetings
Monday 14th February, 12.45-2.00pm
Guest Speaker: Bishop John Arnold
View the Recording here

Monday 14th March, 12.45-2.00pm
Nourishment for Lent
Listen to the Meditation again here

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

Guest Speakers: John Paul de Quay & Mary Colwell
Listen to John Paul’s talk here
Listen to Mary’s update on the GCSE in Natural History here


Monday 13th June, 12.45-2.00pm
Sustainable Summers
Book with Eventbrite here

Monday 11th July, 12.45-2.00pm
Season of Creation and COP27
Book with Eventbrite here

Monday 12th September, 12.45-2.00pm
Monday 10th October, 12.45-2.00pm
Monday 14th November, 12.45-2.00pm
Monday 12th December, 12.45-2.00pm


This 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. 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, especially as set out by Pope Francis in the encyclical Laudato Si’, and the teachings on caring for the earth and one another found in Scripture.

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

For the Zoom link, more details, or to be added to the mailing list please email
Colette Joyce, Westminster Justice and Peace Co-ordinator, colettejoyce@rcdow.org.uk
or call her on 07593 434 905

The SDEN Planning Group are:
Colette Joyce (Westminster), David Ko (Westminster),
John Paul de Quay (Arundel & Brighton), Rebekah O’Keeffe (Southwark),
Richard Busellato (Westminster) and Siân Thomas (Brentwood)

Previous Meetings

9th May 2022 – All Creatures Great and Small: Reflecting on Biodiversity

‘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.

14th March 2022 – Nourishment for Lent

Rebekah O’Keefe chaired the meeting and began by reflecting on words from Bishop John Arnold given at the previous meeting, especially when he said that 85% of the world’s population are men and women of faith who believe the environment is an important aspect of their faith. This is very encouraging.

We were asked last time to reflect upon what we will have liked to achieved by this time next year with regards to protecting the environment. What one thing has spoken to us personally and what steps do we need to take to make this achievable?

We invited to enter into a time of reflection used a 20-minute guide from the Pray-as-you-go website, Session 1 – The Providence of God:

Visit the Pray-as-you-go website to listen to the meditation

The reflection provides nourishment for our Lenten journey. It was taken from the ‘Pray as you go’ earth sessions and entitled ‘the providence of God’. It started with a reading from St. Paul’s letter to the Romans: Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?’  Do we share in Paul’s certainty that nothing can come between us and the love of Christ? Do we believe in everyday miracles?

We were given the consoling message of how ‘hope’ is to become aware of God’s providence shaping our lives and guiding us amid all that is happening in our world and unwanted experiences. As love is at the heart of divine providence, so we should love one another especially those in need; this is the essence of the season of Lent. We should listen to Him in prayer, choosing to do without what is superfluous in our lives.

28th February 2022 – Leaving Something on the Table

The Southern Dioceses Environment Network were pleased to welcome Dr David Ko and Richard Busellato to our first online evening event, discussing their recently published book, ‘The Unsustainable Truth’ (2021), how investing for the future is destroying the planet.

They demonstrate how, by seeking comfort and security, we end up with an economic system that exhausts our resources. Instead they propose a model of ‘Transformational Ownership’ to safely steward harmful resources to their end of life.

Arising from over thirty years’ personal experience of the investment industry, Richard and David’s presentation forms a powerful contribution to the debate surrounding the ethics of investment and sustainability.

15th February – Bishop John Arnold

Bishop John Arnold, Bishop of Salford, was the guest speaker at the second meeting of the Southern Dioceses Environment Network, held at lunchtime today, 14th February 2022.

He talked to us about his experiences as the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of England and Wales spokesman on the Environment and his attendance at the UN Climate Conference, COP26, in Glasgow. While much was achieved in that meeting, he was disappointed that there wasn’t a sense of commitment from the world leaders to make the changes needed for 1.5C and we could still have scenarios of 2C, 3C or even 4C. We’ve got to look to COP27 (in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, 7-18 November 2022) to make more courageous efforts to introduce the changes that should have happened at COP26.

However, he told us as we look at the Church we should be pleased with the efforts of Pope Francis. “It was Laudato Si’ that really engaged so many people this time, pointing out real dangers and, as with everything he writes, it’s always a reminder that this isn’t for just institutions and bishops, it’s for each and every one of us. We, all of us, have got our part to play and he brings that gospel down to the individual level.” Our choices each and every day can make a difference.

Real interest has grown among our church members in the last few years, especially in our schools. He is pleased that Salford has started the Guardians of Creation project which will be helpful to all Dioceses, especially in matters of property where we can make changes in energy use as a large property owner. We all play a part in caring for our common home.

As it was Valentine’s Day, we also shared our Green Hearts and messages of hope on-screen during the meeting as part of The Climate Coalition’s annual #ShowTheLove campaign!

The next meeting of the Southern Dioceses Environment Network will be on Monday, 14th March 2022, 12.45-2.00pm. All welcome.

To register in advance with Eventbrite please visit:
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/255432404197

For more details please contact Colette Joyce on 07593 434 905 or colettejoyce@rcdow.org.uk

See More: Key Climate Dates