Throughout a challenging 2020, we stayed united as people of hope.
That unity as one Global Catholic Climate Movement will help us come together for God and creation like never before in 2021, “for we know things can change” (LS 13).
As you’re planning your New Year’s resolutions, keep in mind the 10 below ways you can improve yourself while caring for God’s creation in the new year.
1. Exercise more
This one tops nearly every list of New Year’s resolutions and pairs nicely with helping the environment.
For instance, perhaps instead of driving or taking the bus, you can walk or ride your bike more often. Or, if you’re able, maybe you can go for walks in the forest or go on hikes to further discover God’s creation.
2. Lose weight
Another perennial favorite that’s simple to pair with creation care.
Say you want to lose 10 pounds. You could start small, the key to building any habit that lasts, and organize “meatless Mondays,” a way to eat less meat and more vegetables at least one day of the week.
The new habit would benefit the environment as well as animal agriculture remains one of the biggest contributors to man-made greenhouse gas emissions, which scientists say are causing the climate crisis.
The Sisters of Mercy have some simple meatless recipes to help you get going.
3. Volunteer more
Seeking ways to give back can spur meaningful change within your community and yourself.
Global Catholic Climate Movement has about 750 Member Organizations all over the world, and there’s probably one in your area that’s looking for enthusiastic help.
GCCM Program Manager for Africa Br. Benedict Ayodi celebrates taking part in a reforestation effort in Kenya during the ecumenical Season of Creation, which featured the participation of more than 240 Catholic partner organizations.
Go to the GCCM’s Member Organization directory to see if there is a Member Organization near you.
If there’s not, maybe you could think about volunteering for one online? As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, dozens of organizations have become more creative and flexible with their work.
4. Learn a new skill or hobby
New skills and hobbies can help keep our minds fresh.
Make 2021 the year you finally plant that garden you’ve been meaning to plant (free inspiration here), or the year that you resolve to compost all of those piles of food scrap that have been going to the landfill, leaking methane — a potent greenhouse gas — into the atmosphere.
5. Become who God wants you to be
This one might be the most important resolution on this list.
After all, what’s more important than living out your Catholic and Christian vocation, whatever that might be?
“Living our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork is essential to a life of virtue; it is not an optional or a secondary aspect of our Christian experience.” (LS 217)
One concrete step you can take towards this goal is to join the thousands of people who have become Laudato Si’ Animators, champions for Catholic action against the ecological crisis and climate emergency
Dircia Belo of Timor-Leste, a southeast Asian island nation, was one of the more than 4,000 people who became Laudato Si’ Animators in 2020.
During the free six-week training, passionate people from all over the world will unite to learn about the root causes of the climate crisis and the key messages of Laudato Si’.
To end the course, Animators will practice leading their communities by taking action for creation.
Commit to working for creation and against the climate emergency: Sign up to become a Laudato Si’ Animator today!
6. Read more
Just as we work out our bodies, we need to work out our minds by reading.
As you’re carving out time for knowledge gathering in 2021, think about adding Laudato Si’ to your reading list. It’s free, online, and in nearly every language.
Read more: Laudato Si’: On Care For Our Common Home
Pope Francis’ world-changing encyclical has helped the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics better understand how “everything is connected” and put millennia of Catholic teaching in the context of today’s climate emergency.
7. Be intentional about connecting with others
Some things we seem to write down every year. I really want to pray more. Or I really want to join a small group and be more intentional about connecting with God.
New for 2021, the Global Catholic Climate Movement has made it easier for all of us to walk together in our ecological conversion journey.
GCCM has produced a 12-month calendar that features key GCCM moments, saints to inspire our journey, and eco-martyrs to remember those who have given their life doing what God asks us all to do: to love and protect creation.
You can access the calendar two ways:
- Click here to download the free PDF calendar for January 2021
- Click here to add the 2021 GCCM calendar to your Google calendar
Download the free calendar today as this movement will start coming together on a regular basis early in 2021.
The first Global Laudato Si’ Prayer Service will take place 15 January, the sixth anniversary of this movement.
Members of the Global Catholic Climate Movement network attend Pope Francis’ Sunday Angelus prayer on 4 October,
during which Pope Francis thanked GCCM for its work in caring for our common home.
8. Spend more time with family and friends
The COVID-19 pandemic has isolated all of us. It has been hard, more painful than words can describe for some families.
That’s why in 2021, you’re encouraged to somehow spend more time with family and friends. If you still can’t meet in person where you live, schedule a regular video call or phone call with family or friends.
And if it’s winter where you call home, once spring arrives, use that video call time to meet in person with others, so long as it’s in accordance with local COVID-19 pandemic regulations.
We truly need each other and this community now more than ever. Lean on your loved ones to help you through this challenging time, and have hope that things will change.
“Hope would have us recognize that there is always a way out.” (LS 61)
9. Make time to appreciate what you have
You and this movement brought so much hope to the world in 2020.
Sure, we all fell short at times. It happens! We’re human beings doing the best we can.
But even as we strive for improvement, we all can still practice feeling content and at peace with what we have.
Start today: Watch this video to get a sense of everything this movement accomplished this year, and let it leave you feeling hopeful about what you can do in 2021.
10. Spend more time in creation
“The best antidote against this misuse of our common home is contemplation,” Pope Francis said.
“Creatures have a value in themselves and each one ‘reflects in its own way a ray of God’s infinite wisdom and goodness’… in order to discover it, we need to be silent; we need to listen; we need to contemplate.”
Contemplation is the key to deeply understanding our place in God’s infinite creation. Can you think of a time you spent in creation and wished you hadn’t? Probably not.
In 2021, contemplate the vast gift God has given us in the form of creation.
“The Lord of life… is always present. He does not abandon us, he does not leave us alone, for he has united himself definitively to our earth, and his love constantly impels us to find new ways forward.” (LS 245)