Did you doubt that what happens in one part of the world affects all of us everywhere? In a few short weeks, the novel coronavirus has infected millions and killed more than 350,000 around the globe. By June 1, Americans have had to struggle with the sad news that more than 100,000 of us have died.
In Wisconsin, we've been fortunate to suffer fewer infections and deaths than elsewhere in our country. Still, the U.S. has suffered about one-third of worldwide virus related deaths, there is no vaccine, and the virus is not under control.
Unfortunately climate change continues to take its own toll on lives and economies around the world as well. As Pope Francis wants us to understand, climate change is a global issue for people of all faiths. In the attached video the Archbishop of Canterbury talks about what he learned during a visit to Fiji. He was told, "For you Europeans climate change is a problem for the future. For us it is a problem of everyday survival." In the spirit of Laudato Si', we need to own this problem.
From September 1 to October 4, the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, all Christians are invited to celebrate the Season of Creation. This year's theme is "Jubilee for the Earth." Please visit the link to learn more.
Simple steps can help you reduce your carbon footprint.
We’re never short of scary news about disasters related to a warming planet and assaults on our environment. Dramatic photos of enormous ice shelves collapsing in the arctic; news of a dead whale with 88 pounds of plastic in its stomach; reports that while 2018 was the worst year for wildfires in California that will continue to get worse. We’ve been warned that to hold the global temperature rise to 2˚C or less, everyone on earth will need to keep their yearly carbon footprint at 1.87 tons by 2050. Right now, the average person in the U.S. produces a carbon footprint of 18.3 tons. In China, carbon emissions per person are 8.2 tons. For adults this news can be horrifying. Imagine being a child. We need to think hard about the kind of world we are passing along to our children. We need to act, and we need to act now.
As individuals, much of what needs to be done we can’t control. However, small changes each of us can make will add up. (Think of carrying a travel mug instead of getting coffee in a to-go cup or carrying a reusable bottle instead of buying bottled water.) We can model the changes that need to be made for our children (plan several stops on a single car trip to reduce driving and save gas, etc.).We can also help them cultivate “climate friendly” habits that demand fewer energy resources (turn off lights when we leave a room, take shorter showers). When we waste fewer resources and produce fewer waste products, we reduce our carbon footprints and – as a bonus -- probably save money.
Educate yourself and your family about this important issue. Let companies whose products you buy and our political leaders – city, state and Washington, D.C. – know that you want them to take action. If you still wonder if the climate crisis is real, check out the science. We have links to reliable resources below. Many links have suggestions for changes you can make to help you and your family care for our common home.
Resource List: Care for Our Common Home
- Encyclical Laudato ‘Si, https://laudatosi.com/watch
- Climate change facts from The Global Catholic Climate Movement, https://catholicclimatemovement.global/climate-change-facts/ (including videos)
- Your Guide to Climate Action: Audobon.org/climate action guide
- Rainforest Alliance: 5 Tips for Talking to Kids About Climate Change, https://www.rainforest-alliance.org/articles/how-to-talk-to-kids-about-climate-change
- Vox (news outlet): Climate change will affect “every single stage” of a child’s life, health researchers warn, https://www.vox.com/2019/11/13/20963481/climate-change-kids-health-asthma-air-pollution
- Sierra Club: Protecting Our Home, https://www.sierraclub.org/explore-issues
- WI Public Radio News: UW-Eau Claire Researchers Find Microplastics In Boundary Waters Wilderness Area, https://www.wpr.org/uw-eau-claire-researchers-find-microplastics-boundary-waters-wilderness-area---The Guardian: Death toll from the floods in South Asia tops 100 hundreds, https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jul/16/death-toll-from-floods-in-south-asia-rises-to-more-than-100
- National Catholic Reporter, EarthBeat: Do no harm: Catholic Hospitals confront their own carbon footprints https://www.ncronline.org/news/earthbeat/do-no-harm-catholic-hospitals-confront-their-own-carbon-footprints
- The Lancet: Healthy Diets from Sustainable Food Systems https://eatforum.org/content/uploads/2019/01/EAT-Lancet_Commission_Summary_Report.pdf
Let us know about other helpful resources you may find!