by Pedro Jiménez | Dec 22, 2021 | Blog, Chapters, Circles, Divestment, Laudato Si' Week, News and Updates, Prayer, Season of Creation | 3 comments
As good Christians and citizens of the world, we want to take care of creation, the gift we have been given by God. We want to manage well the inheritance that will be left to our descendants and truly care for creation.
Following Pope Francis’ leadership and the 1.3 billion Catholics who care for creation, Laudato Si’ Movement has come up with 52 ways for you, your family, and community to pray and take action for God’s creation this year.
Of course you’re welcome to swap out your own ideas, and mix and match. The Holy Spirit gives us the creativity for the common good!
1. Start reading or re-read Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’
If you have not read it yet, start with a page a day for a week. If you’ve already read it, re-read it and pay attention to which parts stand out that maybe didn’t the last time you read it. Think about inviting your friends and family to read it with you as well.
2. Participate in or start a Laudato Si’ Circle
If you have already found sisters and brothers who share your call for an ecological conversion, come together with them and start a Circle. You also could consider inviting other friends and family in your journey.
3. Become a Laudato Si’ Animator
If you are already participating in Laudato Si’ Movement and you want to lead your community, join the free six-week class that equips you with the tools you need to help your community bring Laudato Si’ to life!
Join today: Become a Laudato Si’ Animator
4. Shop at your local market for fresh food
Start your conversion every day, in every food purchase, in every meal you make. If you buy fresh, seasonal food, you can eat healthier and avoid additives and storage in large refrigerators. If you buy local food, you can avoid costly and polluting transportation and packaging, and you will also help support your local community.
5. Save paper
Take care of the forests by recycling as much paper as possible and print only what is necessary.
6. Organize a campaign to clean and take care of public green spaces.
For a more welcoming community, you can do activities with the rest of the neighborhood in your streets, parks, abandoned lots or riverbanks. You can work to create more car-free parks and pedestrian zones in your community or city. You can even try to care and care for a Laudato Si’ community garden.
7. Attend a Laudato Si’ Movement prayer gathering
This movement’s activism must include the sharing of faith and interior life. Participate with people from all over the world and pray together for God’s creation by joining Laudato Si’ Movement prayer gatherings throughout the year. Learn more about an upcoming event.
Watch: Laudato Si’ Movement Prayer Gathering
8. Clean the house, school or parish with ecological and biodegradable products.
We care for the atmosphere and our health by avoiding chemical compounds that degrade ozone, pollute the air and cause damage to our respiratory system.
9. Conserve the rainforests
Know, listen to, and support those who live in forests across the world, especially Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities. Support efforts that work against deforestation by not consuming the products that cause it, connect with like-minded groups, and collaborate with other organizations that advocate for such sustainable living.
Read more: ‘The Lord’s creation is not for sale
10. Buy only the clothes you need
Think creatively and be a conscious consumer. Try to know your clothes’ origin and how they’re created. Repair your own clothes and reject the throwaway culture by sewing and mending your clothes. Shop at second-hand stores.
With your colleagues and friends, try to create a schedule and use different ways of transportation in order to reduce how often you’re traveling by yourself in your car.
12. Try taking a shower in the time that your favorite song lasts
Be creative so that saving water is not a nuisance but a fun game. Invite your friends or children to participate in such challenges.
13. Save electricity at home
Be careful in your consumption habits but also be aware of your energy options. Does it make sense for you to place solar panels on your roof? Investigate your options locally.
14. Grow a tree
On your balcony, at school or in the parish. Learn about the tree’s life cycle. And then plant it with the children: organize an Arbor Day and continue throughout the year visiting the tree, watering, and preserving it. Love the tree by learning how to take care of it regularly and over the long-term.
LISTEN: Music for integral ecology
15. Use public transportation more
Demand public policies so that transportation is sustainable and free, and serves the city’s peripheries well. You can write a letter to the press as well, or organize a debate among neighbors.
16. Save water in the toilet flushing system
If you have a double-flush toilet, use the small button of the double flush. If that’s not an option, look into ways you can be more efficient with your water throughout your home. Consider collecting cold water from the shower or rain water.
17. Appreciate good civil and public officials
Encourage them. Recognize their good work, their vocation of service to the common good. Write a thank you note online or in your local media to those who work every day, honestly in their jobs, to those people who take care of what belongs to all of us. Celebrate the Eucharist with them in the parish. Create a local award to encourage them.
18. Every night unplug unused electrical appliances
Save electrical energy by doing this and also by using rationally all the technological devices that we have.
19. Consume more products from certified organic agriculture and livestock
Learn to distinguish the labels, know the varieties of local products, and compare the flavors and qualities. Meet some producers in your region and also discuss the conservation of traditional seeds. You can also grow some food in an urban garden or on your own balcony or land.
20. Understand bioclimatic architecture
Consider this step to ensure that buildings, from their design and construction, do not waste materials or energy and are healthy for those who live in them. Propose to those in charge that new public and ecclesiastical buildings be bioclimatic (or at least energy-saving).
21. Sign a petition to care for creation
The Healthy Planet, Healthy People petition saw more than 130,000 Catholics from all over the world come together to encourage world governments to set ambitious targets at the United Nations 26th Climate Change Conference in Glasgow. Join a similar effort in your community or online. Advocate for creation today!
Photo by Vanesa Guerrero
22. Commit to prayer
Together we ask the Lord to make us artisans of peace and for world leaders to prioritize caring for our common home so that we can restore our damaged ecosystems and care for the most vulnerable species among us. Join the Creation Care Prayer Network.
23. Examine your health
This week, discuss with your family, at various meals and dinners, your food choices, habits, vices, and changes that could be made so that you’re becoming who God wants to be in every area of your life.
24. Reduce your plastic waste
Avoid excessive packaging, plastic bags, and single-use bags when shopping. Take your reusable bag with you when you go shopping, and do your best to avoid plastics that are not recycled and end up in the sea.
25. Be attentive to the calendar
We Catholics have our liturgical feasts but we also joyfully join our sisters and brothers around the world in celebrating meaningful days for God’s creation, including Earth Day (April 22) and the United Nations Environment Day (June 5), among many others. Mark these important dates on your calendar and organize a gesture on that day in your parish or school.
26. Cycle for climate
Get your bike tuned up and ride it around town. With your friends and family, discuss this issue and advocate for more bike lanes and bike-friendly streets if applicable in your area.
Read more: Ride 4 Creation pedals online in Laudato Si’ Week
27. Commit to undergoing an ecological conversion
Take time to learn more about an ecological conversion. What is it, and have you undergone it? We’re all on the way. Get started here by reading, “What is an ecological conversion?”
28. Avoid plastic water bottles
Consume tap water, making sure that its supply is safe to drink in every house in the city, and carry it in your own metal bottle. If tap water isn’t safe in your community, talk to your neighbors about what you can do to solve this crucial problem.
29. Spend time in God’s creation
Care for creation by enjoying and contemplating God’s creation – what has been created, what is alive, and what what is free. Spend time just meditating in God’s creation, thanking God for the beauty that surrounds you. Pray the Laudato Si’ Chaplet. Meditate with stories from the Laudato Si’ Encounter,
30. Read the Bible
Discover the Creator God, the God who cares for us and sustains us, the God of life. Try to see how many times natural elements are mentioned in Scripture. Look for and become acquainted with the Psalms that speak of Creation.
Read more: Catholic Church and climate change: Why Catholics care about climate change
WATCH: Catholic Church and climate change: Why Catholics care about climate change
31. Appreciate clean water
Don’t waste it at home. Turn off the tap when not in use (e.g., brushing teeth, washing hands, cooking), install flow-reducing devices, and keep pipes free of leaks. Prepare a group excursion to the bodies of water that supply your locality.
32. Take action during Laudato Si’ Week
Laudato Si’ Week brings Catholics together around the world to celebrate the great work that has been done all over the world since Pope Francis released his world-changing encyclical in 2015. The week also unites Catholics to plan ambitious action for the future. Make plans to organize a local event to be sure your sisters and brothers take time to celebrate this incredible week at LaudatoSiWeek.org.
WATCH: Laudato Si’ Week in 60 seconds
33. Talk to your parish priest about mentioning the climate crisis during Mass
The most important thing all people can do is talk about the climate crisis. Do you hear your parish leader or priest talking about the climate crisis? If not, set up a meeting with your priest to talk about your worries and how the climate crisis is affecting sisters and brothers in your community.
WATCH: The most important thing you can do to fight climate change: talk about it
34. Pray for those affected by the climate emergency and biodiversity crisis
As Catholics united in hope and working for a better tomorrow, let us come together to pray for the climate crisis and all of God’s creation that needlessly suffers from the crisis.
Read & pray: 6 prayer intentions for the climate crisis
35. Use energy-saving light bulbs
Every month, change the lights in one room of your house to LEDs. Then you can help your neighbors with it and propose it to the parish. All over the world, parishes and dioceses are making small changes that add up to big savings in their energy bills.
36. What is the Season of Creation?
Have you participated in the Season of Creation? It is the annual celebration of prayer and action for our common home. Every year, the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics join our Christian sisters and brothers in celebrating this special time of the year. Learn more about the ecumenical season by reading this one-page guide and watching the below video about how all Christians care for creation.
WATCH: What is the Season of Creation?
37. Help your institution commit to divestment
Hundreds of Catholic institutions around the world have decided to live out their values and made the prophetic decision to commit to divestment from fossil fuels. Now more than ever, Catholic institutions are called to live out their values and help the world transition to a cleaner and more resilient future. Learn more about divesting from fossil fuels today.
Credit: Mazur – catholicnews.org.uk
38. Prepare for and/or watch the “Laudato Si'” movie
Have you heard? Pope Francis and his inspiring encyclical, which has motivated millions to care for our common home and work against the climate crisis, will be the focus of an upcoming feature-length documentary, set to be released in 2022. Sign up to receive the latest news about “Laudato Si'” the movie
39. Pray the rosary
There are so many things to do, always. That will never change. There will always be items on your to-do list. But as Catholics, before we do anything, we must pray. This week, make time to pray the rosary and ask God for the courage to advocate for our most vulnerable sisters and brothers who are most affected by the climate emergency and biodiversity crisis.
40. Recycle better
Be diligent about separating recycling and waste. In some countries, recycling contamination – “the average amount per load of recycling that isn’t deemed recyclable – has tripled in the past decade. This costs money for companies that recycle, and already the amount of money they make off recycling isn’t much. Improve your recycling efforts by first and foremost, knowing the recycling rules for your city or town.
Leave the car behind so you can help take care of creation and your healthy. In buildings, use the stairs more and the elevator less. Want some spiritual talk to accompany your walk? Listen to the Laudato Si’ Movement podcast.
42. Do not sin by wasting food
Avoid food waste with good habits and smart shopping. At the table, take only what you’re going to eat. Look for solidarity networks and apps that help share the leftovers of each day. Learn to use leftovers with creative dishes. Do not buy more than necessary and make better use of the pantry.
As Pope Francis said, “Let us remember well, however, that whenever food is thrown out it is as if it were stolen from the table of the poor, from the hungry! I ask everyone to reflect on the problem of the loss and waste of food, to identify ways and approaches which, by seriously dealing with this problem, convey solidarity and sharing with the underprivileged.”
43. Have fun without flying
Think about how to travel on vacation with friends and family in a more sustainable way. You might travel together by train instead of by plane or cruise ship. Travel slowly, discovering the closeness and wisdom of each other and others.
44. Innovate while practicing sustainable fashion
Create our own handmade clothes, asking others to teach you or watching YouTube videos about how to knit. Start or join a group with your friends to exchange used clothes. Encourage parish flea markets of clothes, furniture, and household items. In cold weather, do not turn the heating up too high if you can wear warm clothes. Learn more about the Buy Nothing Project in your area.
45. Turn climate angst into climate action
Millions of people all over the world suffer from climate anxiety. Are you? It’s OK! Learn how you can turn that anxiety into action and help a friend do so this week.
WATCH: Laudato Si’ Dialogue: How to turn climate angst into climate action
47. Initiate “Meatless Mondays”
Animal agriculture remains one of the leading causes of greenhouse gas emissions. Initiate “Meatless Mondays” in your household by using these free and delicious recipes from the Sisters of Mercy.
48. Do you belong to a Member Organization?
Is your institution a Laudato Si’ Movement Member Organization? If not, ask leaders about joining the 850-plus organizations around the world that are working together to care for creation. Learn more about Laudato Si’ Movement Member Organizations.
49. Hear the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor
Take time to read about the climate crisis affecting our poorest sisters and brothers around the world, such as in Madagascar, where they’re experiencing the first climate change famine. Sit with this news and reflect on how it makes you feel, knowing that the people of Madagascar have had nothing to do with the root causes of the climate emergency and biodiversity crisis.50. Celebrate the Eucharist with joy
Christ lives and wants everyone to live fully. Is there anything more ecological and loving?
51. Participate as a conscientious citizen
Take a greater interest in local environmental policies. Propose changes and promote creative initiatives. Help lift up the voices of young people. In other words, be an active citizen!
52. Sign up for the Laudato Si’ Action Platform
The Laudato Si’ Action Platform is a Vatican-led effort to empower Catholic institutions, communities, and families to implement Laudato Si’. It’s the next step in our journey to care for creation. Sign up now.
Pedro Jiménez is a Spiritual Consultant for Laudato Si’ Movement. He is a priest and biologist from Navarre, a member of the Adsis communities, called to be a Christian and an environmentalist since his childhood. He has lived in Latin America, Italy and Spain, passionately exercising his commitment to the Kingdom of God with young people, the poor and the environment.
Even to focus on building in one of these as an extra activty/intention each week builds up and strengthens our positive relationship with all creatures and all of creation.. loving this approach to living with and not on our planet💕💕🌻☘
Very well put together. A good balance of the practical and spiritual of Pope Francis Laudato Si – On Care for Our Common Home.
Someone has put a lot of work into this. Well done!
We will promote on our Parish and Care for Creation 🌏 group social media.
Number 8 in the list of 52 Ways to Care for Creation suggests cleaning with ecological and biodegradable products, but no mention of the atrocious lawn chemicals sprayed all over home gardens and grounds around our churches. This is a critical element to address as these products can poison our soil and our waterways.