Mattawoman Creek is seen at Smallwood State Park in Marbury, Md.. CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn

Editorial: Sign up for planet

By 
  • September 16, 2021

Saving the planet is a pretty tall order, so it’s understandable that we can feel a little overwhelmed by the task. After all, what’s one person going to accomplish?

We can reuse, recycle and reduce all we want, but how’s that going to turn back the persistent tide of gloom that washes over us every time we hear more bad news about man’s seeming death wish for our common home?

Still, we know we can’t give up. There is too much at stake, and in this Season of Creation (Sept. 1 to Oct. 4) it is all the more important to be pro-active in learning more about our Christian duty to advocate for the planet.

A simple way is right at our fingertips — adding your name to a Catholic petition on the climate crisis. The petition is called Healthy People Healthy Planet and was launched in May as part of Laudato Si’ Week marking the end of the special anniversary year for the 2015 encyclical on care for our common home.

Do petitions work? Well, yes, they can, and even if you doubt their effectiveness, the very act of signing can be a motivator for greater involvement.

The petition will be presented to world leaders at the United Nations climate summit (COP26) in Glasgow, Nov. 1-12, a meeting Pope Francis plans to attend.

“It is our responsibility as Catholics to lift up the voices of the most vulnerable and advocate on their behalf. We must act now,” reads the preamble to the petition, available at thecatholicpetition.org.

The petition, organized by the Laudato Si’ Movement, is aimed at the leaders of both COP26 and the next month’s UN Biodiversity Conference (COP).

There is much to shout about:

  • Greenhouse gases, a major indicator of climate change, has hit new highs, with carbon dioxide at 148 per cent of pre-industrial levels. Even with the pandemic shutting down a lot of activity, greenhouse gas emissions still increased last year.
  • Global warming continues, with 2020 being one of three warmest years on record. In a worst-case scenario, scientists predict by the end of this century the planet will be without ice.
  • Severe weather events are on the rise, including floods, drought, wildfires and cold and heat waves.

All of these factors have a decidedly negative impact on all our lives. Weather-related events have led to the displacement of an average of 23 million people a year, according to the World Meteorological Organization. Food production has suffered, and air and water pollution continues to kill millions.

As Pope Francis pointed out in Laudato Si’, we have no right to treat God’s creation this way.

It’s a pretty simple task to sign a petition these days — a few clicks of the mouse and you’re done. So go to thecatholicpetition.org and sign the petition. We will have done the planet a good turn. It is the least we can do during this Season of Creation.

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