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How Can I Take Action on the Environment?

There is a lot of debate in our world today about the extent and root causes of the current ecological crisis. However, there is little debate about the fact that the environment has and continues to sustain damage impacting all of us across all corners of the planet.

In A Concise Guide to Catholic Social Teaching, Kevin E. McKenna offers a summary of ways that Catholic teaching offers people of all walks of life opportunities to advocate and work for a restoration and protection of the environment.

Citizens:  participate in the debate over how our nation can best protect our ecological heritage, allocate environmental costs, and plan for the future.

Parents:  as the first and principal teacher of their children, impart a love of earth and nature, and care and concern for the earth.

Members of the Church:  examine lifestyles, behaviors, and policies (both individually and institutionally) to discern how they contribute to destruction of the environment and what actions may lead to its restoration and protection.

Business leaders:  prioritize protection of the environment in business activities, decisions, and partnerships.

Teachers and Educators:  emphasize love for God’s creation in classrooms and curricula.

Theologians, scripture scholars, and ethicists:  explore and advance the insights of the Catholic tradition and its relation to the environment and other religious perspectives in these matters.

Environmental advocates:  join in building bridges between the quest for justice and the pursuit of peace.

Policy makers:  focus more directly on the ethical dimensions of environmental policy and on its relation to development, to seek the common good, and to resist short-term pressures in order to meet long-term responsibility for future generations.[2]

“The environmental crisis of our day is an exceptional call to conversion and a change of heart to save the planet for our children and generations yet unborn.  Only when believers look to the values of the scriptures, honestly admit limitations and failings, and commit to common action on behalf of all the land the vulnerable of the earth will we be ready to participate fully in resolving the crisis.”

Kevin E. McKenna[1]

[1] Kevin E. McKenna, A Concise Guide to Catholic Social Teaching (Notre Dame, IN: Ave Maria Press, 2019), 124-125.

[2] Ibid., 123-124.

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