Dear First Name,
I write this from the annual Catholic Social Ministry Gathering in Washington where, tomorrow, hundreds of dedicated Catholics will go to Capitol Hill to share our concerns—including on the environment—with members of Congress. At a time when our bishops are facing criticism (some of it certainly justified), I want to take a moment to highlight for you their leadership on creation care. Too many Catholics don't hear about or appreciate their efforts, particularly from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
As you read this, Catholics are on the Hill to ask members of Congress to support the bi-partisan Energy Innovation and Climate Dividend Act (House bill HR 763). Watch for an action alert from the Covenant in the days ahead urging you to do the same.
I would also urge you to read their recent comments on the regulatory roll-backs of important environmental regulations including the Clean Power Plan and Clean Cars/CAFÉ standards. Their analysis is brilliant, and they make compelling arguments against these rollbacks. If we're honest, too often our leaders hear from us only when we want to vent. I urge you to write your bishop a letter thanking him for his leadership on this important, life-saving witness.
Founding Executive Director
Catholic Climate Covenant
Catholics Leading the Way
USCCB Welcomes Bipartisan Carbon Pricing Bill
Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, FL and Chairman of the U.S. Bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, welcomed the introduction of the bipartisan Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2019 (EICDA). The legislation, co-sponsored by Reps. Ted Deutch (D-FL-22), Francis Rooney (R-FL-19), Charlie Crist (D-FL-13), Judy Chu (D-CA-27), Anna Eshoo (D-CA-18), Scott Peters (D-CA-52), and Dan Lipinski (D-IL-03), is a major first step to addressing climate change by placing an initial price of $15 per metric ton of carbon dioxide and establishing a "Carbon Dividend Trust Fund" to distribute the dividend back to U.S. households.
Bishop Dewane also cautioned that "additional in-depth and independent analysis is still needed to fully understand the potential impacts on poor and vulnerable persons, families and their communities."
Virginia Bishops Sign the US Catholic Climate Declaration
On January 16th, Virginia Bishops Michael F. Burbidge of Arlington and Barry C. Knestout of Richmond signed the U.S. Catholic Climate Declaration stating that this action reinforces the Virginia Catholic community's commitment to efforts that recognize and help reduce climate change. They join nearly 800 other Catholic dioceses, organizations, and institutions who agree to support climate goals to reduce emissions worldwide and avoid the most dangerous effects of climate change. Read the press release here.
Reserve Your Copy of the 2019 Earth Day Program
Pre-order "All Creation Gives God Praise: Protecting Biodiversity in a Time of Climate Crisis", the 2019 edition of our annual Earth Day educational program.
Grounded in scripture, Catholic social teaching, and Laudato Si', this year's Earth Day program will help mobilize the Catholic community to take urgent action to protect all of God's creation.
The one-hour educational program will include prayers, readings, a short video, and suggested activities.
Note: Earth Day 2019 falls on Easter Monday (April 22nd). Therefore, we recommend celebrating Earth Day during the Easter season or another date that suits your community's schedule.
Recording of Catholic Perspectives on Investment in and Divestment from Fossil Fuel Interests Webinar
Our first webinar of the year featured Fr. Séamus Finn, OMI, Chief of Faith Consistent Investing for the Missionary Society of St. Columban Investment Trust and Amy Woolam Echeverria, International Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation Coordinator for the Missionary Society of St. Columban and Founding Board President of the Global Catholic Climate Movement. Both shared their expertise about:
- How Catholic institutions see divestment from fossil fuels and investments in clean energy companies as a way to demonstrate care for creation.
- How Catholic institutions with investment portfolios decide whether to invest in or divest from corporations and other interests involved in fossil fuel activities.
- How investors from Catholic and other faith institutions ensure their investments align with the demands of their faith.
You can watch the webinar here.
Faithful Action on Climate Change
Catholic Hospital and Health Systems Urge EPA to Uphold Mercury and Air Toxics Standards
Responding to EPA's December '18 announcement that it will reconsider the reasoning behind the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS)—arguing that the regulations are no longer "appropriate and necessary"—several Catholic hospitals and health systems, as well as the Catholic Health Association, signed-on to a letter to Acting Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler. Signers urged him to protect public health by upholding strong limits on mercury and other toxic pollutants emitted from coal-fired power plants. Read press statement and Catholic statements here.
Manifesto of Youth at World Youth Day 2019 For the Care of the Common Home
While meeting in Panama City, Panama, for World Youth Day, Catholic youth produced a "manifesto" proclaiming the launch of the "Laudato Si' Generation", a new network of young Catholics committed to care for creation.
We, young Catholics from World Youth Day in Panama, would like to raise our hearts and minds in praise, joy and gratitude for the beautiful gift of our beloved "sister Mother Earth" in the beautiful words of St Francis. At the same time, we are painfully aware, as Pope Francis reminded us, that "our common home is falling into serious disrepair" (Laudato Si' 61). Convinced that "all of us can cooperate as instruments of God for the care of creation" (LS 14), we call on everyone, ourselves first, to urgently act to protect our planet and the poorest and most vulnerable people.
Read full manifesto here.
Highlighting the GoodLands Project
Molly Burhans started GoodLands, a nonprofit organization that aims "to help Catholic communities around the world use their property for good." in 2015, and the project has completed a global mapping of the Catholic Church's lands, buildings, and populations. America Magazine's article, "Can High-Tech Maps Help the Church and Save the Planet? is an excellent overview of the project and how it can be used by Catholics interested in creation care.
Make the Commitment to Living the Change
Our partners, the Franciscan Action Network and the Global Catholic Climate Movement invite you to commit to "live the change" by signing the statement, "Walk Gently on the Earth" and commiting to living sustainably. "Living the Change" is an invitation to be part of the climate change solution by making changes in the three areas of our lives that are the most carbon-intensive: transportation, home energy use, and diet.
Check out the Living the Change website