This year's June appeal is focused on an extraordinary commitment by one of the Covenant’s board members, Jeff Rauenhorst. Jeff is in the middle of RUNNING all 500 miles of the El Camino de Santiago in an effort to raise bring attention to and raise funds for the Covenant’s Catholic Energies program. You can follow his El Camino pilgrimage here.
It would mean so much to us if you would consider donations to support Jeff and Catholic Energies, sharing his blog, and inviting your family and friends to become Catholic Climate Covenant supporters and donors.
The focus of this Creation Care Team email is the issue of single-use plastic. The program below - “Beyond a Throwaway Culture – Reduce Waste-Grow Community: The Plastics Challenge- can help you reduce use of single-use plastics in your life, family, and community. Many of you, prompted by this years’ Earth Day program, have already signed-up your communities to work on a “plastic challenge” in the next few months. Thank you! We welcome all to join. Please contact me if you have any questions.
Finally, thank you so much to all who worked so diligently to get your Catholic leaders to sign the Catholic Climate Declaration. As of today, over 560 Catholic institutions have joined! We will continue to encourage more signatures leading up to the “Catholic Moment” at the Global Climate Action Summit in September.
How will you take action?
"There is the sea, vast and spacious, teeming with creatures beyond number—living things both large and small.”- Psalms 104: 25-30
“By 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the world’s oceans...”, Washington Post, January 20th, 2016
Do we as people of faith carry any special responsibility for “living things, both large and small”? If so, can we take action both individually and collectively? Have your CCT discuss this issue or ask to talk about how/why you are taking action on plastics at church.
Find out your own plastic footprint.
Register for upcoming Laudato Si 'at Three: Vibrant Impact and Vast Possibilities webinar! Register here!
Take time to learn about the problem of single-use plastic. Consider sharing some of this information in your Sunday bulletins or newsletters.
• United Nations: Single-Use Plastics: A Roadmap to Sustainability: The report sums up the extent of the plastic pollution crisis: Only 9 percent of all plastics ever produced have been recycled, while 12 percent have been incinerated and a full 79 percent have ended up in landfills, dumps, or the environment.
• National Geographic: What Happens to the Plastic We Throw Out?
• Earth Day Network: Plastic Pollution Primer and Action Toolkit
Good News: It’s not all doom and gloom!
1) EU Proposes a Total Ban on Plastic Forks and Other Products
2) Ikea commits to phase out single-use plastic products by 2020
3) Infographic: The Countries Banning Plastic Bags
4) Vancouver votes to ban plastic straws, foam cups and containers by June 2019
5) India Announces 'Game-Changing' Single-Use Plastics Ban
- Plan a “Teach-in” on plastic pollution within your community.
- The 2018 Earth Day program, Beyond a Throwaway Culture: Reduce Waste-Grow Community, invites communities of faith to participate in a plastic reduction challenge. Is your CCT participating?
How can your community participate?
A) Schedule a meeting of those interested in participating in the challenge and brainstorm which activity you would like to take on as a community.
B) Choose one of the suggested activities in the section below entitled, Community Challenge Ideas, or brainstorm how your community can reduce the use of disposable plastics. You decide what type of program fits your parish, school, or religious community!
C) Sign-up as a challenge participant here. Groups that sign up will receive regular tips, information, and resources to help you in your efforts.
D)Complete the challenge by October 4th - the end of the Season of Creation (Sept. 1st - Oct. 4th).... although always seek to reduce your plastics footprint!
E) Report the results of your challenge to Catholic Climate Covenant using this online form by October 4th.
During the Season of Creation (Sept. 1st-October 4th), Catholic Climate Covenant will promote your community’s challenge results through our website and social media. All challenge participants will receive a “Beyond a Throwaway Culture” certificate (sent via email). On Oct. 4th, we will tally all the reported data and let the world know what the U.S. Catholic community is doing to reduce throwaway culture and plastic pollution.
Community Challenge Ideas
• Conduct a Plastic Audit to find out how much plastic you are throwing away. Then at the end of the challenge, conduct another one and compare the results.
• Pledge to remove all single-use plastics from your parish, school, or religious community by a certain date. Find biodegradable or washable alternatives to plastic dinnerware and disposable plastic bottles. Estimate how much plastic you have avoided. A plastic pollution calculator is available here.
• Coffee cups: If your church serves coffee in the lobby on Sundays, encourage the congregation to start bringing their own non-disposable cups. Have a “mug drive” and encourage everyone to donate one of their extras. Setting out the mugs on the table next to the coffee pot is a good way to reduce paper and plastic waste.
• Participate in Plastic-Free July (or another month of your choosing) and in your daily life, intentionally refuse to use single-use plastic, such as plastic shopping bags, plastic cups, straws, plastic packaging. Try the TOP 4 challenge (refusing plastic bags, bottles, takeaway coffee cups & straws). Pledge to do this for a fixed period and measure how much plastic your community reduces during that time. For more info see here and here.
• Does your community use plastic disposable shopping bags? Initiate a local public information campaign to help people understand the threat that the planet faces due to plastic pollution. Advocate for a plastic bag ban in your community. Perhaps you can sell reusable cloth bags with your community’s logo and aLaudato Si’ quote emblazoned on the sides.
• Plan a beach, stream, park cleanup. Estimate the amount of plastic you removed form the environment.
• Refuse “Styrofoam” (polystyrene) food and drink containers. Advocate for a Styrofoam ban in your community.
• Promote the Beyond a Throwaway Culture Program with weekly tips in your bulletins, on a bulletin board, or newsletters.
• Incorporate creation care into your worship experiences during your community’s challenge. Check out the Covenant’s website for worship/prayer resources.
• Remember to estimate the amount of plastic reduction you accomplish and report back to Catholic Climate Covenant by October 4th, 2018!