This article first appeared at MercyWorld.org.
Garbage/Pollution was one of the significant issues raised during MIRP, with groups from 8 Mercy Congregations and Institutes reporting their reflections and actions to address this important issue (MIRP Report, p.6). Single-use plastic has been identified as one of the critical environmental issues of our time, affecting the health of land, oceans, wildlife and ourselves. Movement continues to grow globally among governments and lawmakers—the latest being the EU— to ban single-use plastic items, and for businesses to provide compostable or reusable alternatives to plastic bags and plastic straws.
To help end plastic pollution, you are invited to take action: watch the impact on oceans, sign a petition, say no to straws, take the 4R pledge, take the journey away from plastic.
To find out more about World Oceans Day, visit: www.worldoceansday.org
A Platform for Action
World Environment Day is the UN's most important day for encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the protection of our environment. Since it began in 1974, it has grown to become a global platform for public outreach that is widely celebrated in over 100 countries.
The People's Day
Above all, World Environment Day is the "people's day" for doing something to take care of the Earth. That "something" can be focused locally, nationally or globally; it can be a solo action or involve a crowd. Everyone is free to choose.
Each World Environment Day is organized around a theme that focuses attention on a particularly pressing environmental concern. The theme for 2018 is beating plastic pollution.
Find out more about World Environment Day 2018, visit: worldenvironmentday.global
This article first appeared at MercyWorld.org
Amy Woolam Echeverria is the International Coordinator for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) for the Missionary Society of St. Columban (Columban Missionaries). The Columbans, like Mercy International Association, are founding members of the Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM) and Amy serves as GCCM's founding Board President. In Australia for meetings last week, Amy gave a talk on the establishment, growth and work of GCCM to Sisters of Mercy, their colleagues and members of other religious orders at the Mercy Action and Spirituality Hub in North Carlton, Melbourne.
GCCM, with its membership today of almost 700 organisations, ranging from large international networks such as ourselves, to local parishes and community groups —an ever-growing coalition—clearly is a movement. One impetus for GCCM Amy told us, was born from the NYC People's Climate March in 2014, held two days before the UN Climate Summit intended to kickstart the process to achieve the Paris agreement (COP 21). A number of those present at the march, including Columbans and Mercy Sisters and justice personnel, recognising the need 'to do something' to combat climate change and knowing that Laudato Si' was coming, began meeting weekly on skype. In January 2015, GCCM launched, taking its first brave steps with just 20 partner organisations.
GCCM is organised in a participatory, open-source model, promoting key global moments for action together (such as 18 June anniversary of Laudato Si'), empowering grassroots through programs and other tools and sharing information and resources for climate justice created by Catholic organisations, such as our Season of Creation calendar.
GCCM's founding document is Laudato Si' and it works to bring the encyclical to life in 3 dimensions: the spiritual dimension through ecological conversion, the lifestyle dimension through encouraging lifestyle changes and divestment from fossil fuels, and the public policy dimension by speaking out and advocating for bold climate policies. More about GCCM's goals can be read here
In Laudato Si' Pope Francis appealed to the whole human family to take action to shape the future of our common home (LS #13-14). GCCM provides ways for us all to take that action as we continue to respond to 'the cry of the Earth and the cry of the Poor' (LS #49) while seeking to become Mercy Global Presence.
How to become involved