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Compost

Composting your yard and kitchen scraps reduces greenhouse gases that build up in landfills.

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Individual-Family | October 20, 2014

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Catholic Climate Covenant

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Overview

After decades of steady progress in reclaiming and advancing the Catholic Church’s efforts to embrace an ethic of environmental stewardship, the Catholic Climate Covenant (previously, the Catholic Coalition on Climate Change) was formed in 2006 with the support of both the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and the National Religious Partnership for the Environment.

The Catholic Climate Covenant supports and complements USCCB’s Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development and the bishops’ Environmental Justice Program.  The Covenant is guided by the participation on our Steering Committee of top staff from fourteen national Catholic organizations.

The Covenant is seen nationally and globally as a catalyst, convener and clearinghouse that urges Catholic individuals, families, parishes, schools and other organizations to embrace and act on Catholic teaching as it relates to care for creation and climate change. As described on the Catholic Teachings page, authentic Catholic teaching on creation care and climate change emphasizes the virtue of prudence, protection of human life and dignity, particular concern for the poor and vulnerable, and promotion of solidarity and the common good.

The Covenant’s primary organizing tool is the St. Francis Pledge to Care for Creation and the Poor.  Over 10,000 Catholic individuals, families and parishes have taken the Pledge by registering their commitment here. In addition, dozens of Catholic dioceses, religious communities, and colleges/universities have also taken the Pledge by emailing: info@catholicclimatecovenant.org.

The Covenant promotes participation of national Catholic organizations by providing small grants when funding is available.  In this way, the Covenant expands its reach by leveraging the networks of our partner organizations.

Covenant staff and the Catholic Climate Ambassadors continually provide thoughtful and challenging articles, workshops, and presentations to encourage U.S. Catholics to learn more about climate change and the Catholic approach.

To stay informed, please sign up to receive our bi-weekly email updates and archived back issues of the update are also available.

Recent History of Catholic Environmental Teaching and Ministry

In 1990, Pope John Paul II issued his landmark World Day of Peace Message Peace with God the Creator, Peace with All Creation. That papal message pumped new life into a growing movement within the Catholic Church which had already begun to look at the stories of Creation in an effort to define correctly and responsibly the notions of “dominion” and “stewardship.” The message also examined Jesus’ teachings about care for Creation and care for the poor, recalled beloved Catholic saints—especially St. Francis of Assisi—and led to the institutionalization of Care for Creation into the work of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

In 1991, the U.S. bishops followed the Holy Father’s lead and approved Renewing the Earth: An Invitation to Reflection and Action on Environment in Light of Catholic Social Teaching.  In 1993 the USCCB established the Environmental Justice Program (EJP) with the help of the National Religious Partnership for the Environment (NRPE).

The early days of EJP promoted the bishops’ statement, offered small grants to parishes and dioceses, sought collaboration with other national Catholic organizations, and worked on public policies on superfund legislation, brown fields reclamation efforts, environmental hazards in low-income communities..

In the late 1990s, the bishops turned their attention to climate change, and in 2001 published the landmark pastoral letter, Global Climate Change: A Plea for Dialogue, Prudence and the Common Good. (Read the bishops’ statement:  English | Spanish or order it here.) This was among the first and most comprehensive statements on climate change by any faith group and clearly articulated the unique contributions that the Catholic Church makes to the larger climate change debate. This landmark document continues to guide Catholic efforts in the U.S. to address climate change.

In 2006, the Catholic Coalition on Climate Change was launched in order to make the the bishops’ climate change statement more widely known in and embraced by the U.S. Catholic community. In 2014, the Coalition formally changed its name to the Catholic Climate Covenant in order to better emphasize the covenantal aspect of the Catholic creation care ministry.