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By Katia Reeves, member of Stewards of Our Common Home

On September 20, members of Stewards of Our Common Home joined the over 1,500 Climate Strike participants in San Jose and Mountain View. The strike was part of 4 million people around the world who took to the streets calling for action to reduce carbon emissions by 50% in the next 11 years and to achieve zero emissions by 2050 to avert irreversible climate damage.

The strikes gave a voice to the youth urging the United Nations General Assembly at their Climate Action Summit taking place the week of September 23 – 27. At this summit, leaders of countries from around the world focused on their commitments to a carbon-neutral economy. These commitments represent an urgent issue as the world continues to increase the emissions of greenhouse gases with no end in sight.

Students from around the world are getting impatient as they see their world deteriorating in front of their eyes. They demonstrate to save their future as they see little action from governments and corporations to take measures to ensure a livable planet.

Pope Francis said in a message, “In this ecological crisis affecting everyone, we should also feel close to all other men and women of good will, called to promote stewardship of the network of life of which we are part.” To participants of the UN Climate Summit, Pope Francis said: “The problem of climate change is related to issues of ethics, equity, and social justice.”

The California Catholic Conference of Bishops is leading the way for California Catholics with its Pastoral Statement: God Calls Us All to Care for Our Common Home issued on June 18, 2019, challenging us individually and collectively.

An Excerpt from the Bishops’ Pastoral Statement:

For our part, we commit ourselves to fulfilling our calling to lead the Catholic Church and its institutions in life-giving responses to Laudato Si’. We pledge to work with pastoral leaders and Catholic institutions to:

Encourage the faithful to take the St. Francis Pledge – to pray, act, and advocate for solutions to climate disruption – and live out its tenets.

Support clergy, liturgists, musicians, and pastoral leaders to integrate the messages of Laudato Si’ into our life of worship. We commit to offering priest study days and days of recollection to share practical tools…

Examine with (Arch)dioceses their institutional operations to determine the full extent that each can adopt renewable energy, energy efficiency, and water conservation practices.

Explore with (Arch)dioceses opportunities for divestment from fossil fuels, whether through Diocese bank investments, oil leases, etc.

Cooperate with Catholic charities and Catholic health care institutions to undertake environmental health and social initiatives, with special attention to the needs of the poor and excluded.

The Stewards of Our Common Home is a multi-parish group working to educate and motivate Catholics in our Diocese to take immediate action to address the “social and environmental crisis” of climate change.

For more information, contact Marita Grudzen at maritagrudzen@gmail.com.