Season of Creation – the time to start your Laudato Si’ Action Plan
01 Sep 23
A good plan helps us take an idea and put it into practice. Strategic plans, 5-year plans, implementation plans, even mood boards all help us to take an idea and put it into practice. A good plan is often co-constructed by all stakeholders, drafted and redrafted, part of a cyclic process of implementation and review and developed with a specific context in mind. We plan change. We plan for change, we plan how to change and we plan the changes themselves.
There is much change that needs to occur in our world to address the current ecological crisis. We know that “human-caused climate change is already affecting many weather and climate extremes in every region across the globe. This has led to widespread adverse impacts and related losses and damages to nature and people. Vulnerable communities who have historically contributed the least to current climate change are disproportionately affected.” (Source: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2023, “Climate Change 2023 Synthesis Report: Summary for Policymakers”, p. 5.)
Starting with our hearts and minds, we need change to recognise our integral ecology and live Laudato Si’. Caritas Australia aims to provide all Catholics with the resources and community structures, to come together and make detailed plans in response to 7 Laudato Si’ Goals.
What is Laudato Si’?
Only the most popular and revolutionary encyclical of the last 2000 years! Maybe that is an exaggeration, but it certainly has started its own movement.
In essence, it is a letter from Pope Francis to all people. Written in 2015, this letter was the first document written by any Pope that deliberately highlights the voice of the scientific community. Chapters 1 and 2 lay out the current social and ecological crises that we face, from climate change to our dependence on social media (Pope Francis covers it all!)
Chapters 3 and 4 of Laudato Si’ bring a revolutionary theological perspective into the discussion. Pope Francis is bold in recontextualising the story of Genesis before explaining the need to reject our anthropocentrism and shift to an integral ecology. In other words, stop thinking of ourselves as God on Earth and understand that our actions have contributed to the degradation of our planet.
He doesn’t just leave us there though. Chapters 5 and 6 address everyone, from you through to politicians in all forms of governments. Everyone has a role to play in the change making process.
I am interested in how such a spirituality can motivate us to a more passionate concern for the protection of our world… For this reason, the ecological crisis is also a summons to profound interior conversion… an ‘ecological conversion’
What is a Laudato Si’ Action Plan?
Five years on from the release of Laudato Si’, the Dicastery for Promoting Human Integral Development announced that they were starting to develop a centralised data collection point to track commitments and change that is occurring across the world towards an integral ecology.
The Laudato Si’ Action Platform encourages Catholic individuals, families, schools, universities, parishes, dioceses, religious organisations, religious orders, economic institutions and healthcare providers within the Catholic Community to enrol, self-assess their environmental impact, reflect and lastly plan how they are going to transition towards an integral ecology.
A Laudato Si’ Action Plan is the culmination of that work. Each Laudato Si’ Action Plan will look different, depending on the individual or group. But at its core, is a response to the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.
What are the 7 Laudato Si’ Goals?
To help simplify the process of responding to the messages of Laudato Si’ and move towards an integral ecology, 7 Laudato Si’ Goals were developed. They are:
Respond to the cry of the earth
Respond to the cry of the poor
Adoption of sustainable lifestyles
Community resilience and empowerment
“These 7 goals provide guidance on urgent and immediate actions each one of us can take in care of our common home”. (Laudato Si’ Action Platform)
Who should have one?
Everyone can and should develop a Laudato Si’ Action Plan. The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, in their 2021-2022 social justice statement, encouraged all Catholic schools, universities, parishes, dioceses, religious organisations and orders, economic institutions and healthcare providers to respond to the 7 Laudato Si’ Goals. This was also supported by the Plenary Council of Australia’s Decree on Integral Ecology and Conversion for the Sake of our Common Home.
Witnessing to their communal ecological conversion and the urgent need for action, by 2024, each Catholic parish, diocese, eparchy, educational institution or organisation commits to joining the Laudato Si’ Platform.
Where do I start?
Caritas Australia has developed the Australian Guide to Laudato Si’ Action Planning, which is designed to lead you through the first steps. To receive the guide, join Catholic Earthcare by registering at the following link.
How can Catholic Earthcare Communities help?
Caritas Australia’s Catholic Earthcare Communities have been helping Australians to engage in the Laudato Si’ Action Planning process since the release of the Laudato Si’ Action Platform. There is a designated community for school leaders, parish leaders, household members and organisation leaders. Each group meets to discuss ideas, challenges, opportunities and to provide support to one another through the planning process.