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Media contact: Gabriel López Santamaria
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WARSAW, POLAND, 15 February 2022 – The campaign “God gives life – smog takes it away,” organized by Laudato Si’ Movement Poland (Światowy Ruch Katolików na rzecz Środowiska) in cooperation with the Polish Smog Alert, was awarded as one of the three most interesting public relations actions/campaigns in all of Poland in 2021 by leading industry magazine New Marketing.

Zofia Bugajna-Kasdepke, founding partner at SEC Newgate CEE, a public relations agency, explained why the award was given to the Laudato Si’ Movement Poland: “The campaign makes the fight for clean air a universal issue and goes across social divides. Ecology is not an element of identity for the left-wing elite; it should concern everyone. The creators of the campaign decided to reach out to the unconvinced and use the power of the Polish Catholic Church with its most widely read title, the weekly ‘Gosc Niedzielny.’ As part of the campaign, 8,000 parishes across Poland received a special edition of the conservative Sunday Visitor with a package of information on how to get a grant to replace their heating units – and be more eco-friendly!

“‘God gives life – smog takes it away’ is a great example of introducing fresh arguments based on Catholic values and ethics to the public debate. At the same time, it is an effective use of new communication channels.”

Poland’s population of nearly 38 million people suffer from some of the worst smog in the European Union, largely because of the country’s heavy use of coal. In recent years, Poland’s air pollution has caused tens of thousands of premature deaths, according to estimates from the European Environment Agency (EEA).

Polish Smog Alert co-organized the campaign and is one of Poland’s largest environmental organizations. What united Polish Smog Alert and Laudato Si’ Movement Poland, in the spirit of Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’, was a clear attentiveness to the socio-economic dimension of the fight for clean air. As Pope Francis wrote in Laudato Si’, all people are called to hear both “the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor.”

“This is a big success for us and another important step towards protecting our common home and common good. The future of life on Earth depends on the air we breathe and on how well we care for our common home,” said Piotr Abramcztk, general supervisor at Laudato Si’ Movement Poland.

Polish Smog Alert and Laudato Si’ Movement Poland launched the second part of the campaign, “Air and Climate = Common Good,” on Sunday. The project, which has received funding from the EEA, will work closely with the two leading Polish Catholic newspapers, Przewodnik Katolicki and Gości Niedzielny, to publish long reads and graphic materials. The content will help facilitate understanding and make it easier for Catholics to get involved in caring for our common home in their parishes and in their neighborhoods.

About Laudato Si’ Movement

Laudato Si’ Movement serves the Catholic family around the world to turn Pope Francis’ encyclical letter Laudato Si’ into action for climate and ecological justice. Laudato Si’ Movement’s efforts to build a grassroots movement draw on the combined gifts of nearly 800 member organizations and thousands of local volunteers who help bring the Laudato Si’ message to life.