Friday, July 31, 2015

          “Care for Our Common Home”

Standing on the steps of the Trenton State House, surrounded by people waving posters, I had just
finished speaking at a press conference announcing the formation of a new coalition, The NJ Clean Energy Coalition. I had been asked to speak about the connection between this event and Pope Francis’
encyclical, “Laudato Si – Care for Our Common Home”. Standing there, I saw this excited young woman coming toward me. “Look, look,” she said with enthusiasm and a great smile, “I have a Pope poster!” She showed me her homemade poster which read, “Listen to the Pope. Stop fossil fuels.” Scanning the crowd, I noticed a sprinkling of other “Pope posters.”

The NJ Clean Energy Coalition, composed of a growing group of thirty-six environmental, labor,
religious, community and citizen groups, is advocating for a movement toward clean, safe energy.

The Coalition is calling for a 30% increase in energy efficiency and 100% carbon free electricity production by 2030. The Coalition is also committed to stopping the various oil and gas projects threatening New Jersey—projects such as the proliferation of pipelines, oil trains and proposals for fracking waste storage, and a natural gas facility off the NJ coast. These projects threaten drinking water, open space, the ocean, communities and neighborhoods.

This new coalition is the type of action stressed in “Laudato Si.” The encyclical talks about the
importance of local efforts and the coming together of people and groups who may have disagreements on some issues, but who recognize the urgency of addressing climate change and the need to work
together on this common threat.

It is in that spirit that the encyclical is addressed not only to Catholics, but to “the whole human family.” “The urgent challenge to protect our common home includes a concern to bring the whole human family together to seek a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change.”

In an address at the UN, Cardinal Peter Turkson, who has been a key consultant and author in producing the encyclical, listed some of the main points that are emphasized in “Laudato Si”:

  • Humanity is not separate from the environment in which we live; rather humanity and the natural environment are one. Everything is connected. Everything is interrelated. We are one and humans have a moral obligation to care for this community of oneness. Pope Francis says, “The human environment and the natural environment deteriorate together; we cannot adequately combat environmental degradation unless we attend to causes related to human and social degradation.” Pope Francis calls us to hear “both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.”
  • The grave errors that increase our disastrous indifference to the environment include a throwaway-culture of consumerism, and a naive confidence that technological advances and undirected commercial markets will inevitably solve our environmental problems.
  • The accelerating change in climate is undeniable, catastrophic and worsened by human activities, but also amenable to human intervention.
  • We must address the ethical nature of our crisis, both through dialogue, and by recovering our fundamental spiritual dimension.
We are part of a universe in which all of creation – water, soil, mountains, ocean – everything that is speaks of God's love. Our role is not one of mastery over creation, but rather protection of creation. The meaning of “Laudato Si” is “Praise be to You, O Lord,” the beginning of the prayer of St. Francis, which acknowledges the sacredness of all creation.

In the encyclical, Pope Francis speaks to groups like that which gathered on the Trenton State House steps, perhaps especially to those young people proudly waving their “Pope Posters.” He says, “I want to recognize, encourage and thank all those striving in countless ways to guarantee the protection of the home which we share.”

WATERSPIRIT is energized and thrilled with the emergence of “Laudato Si” as a growing global catalyst and voice for the global shift in consciousness for the care of creation and climate change action!

- Suzanne Golas, csjp

Monday, January 5, 2015

In the dark of the moon,

In the flying snow, in the dead of winter

War spreading, families dying, the world in danger

I walk the rocky hillside, sowing clover.

- Wendell Berry

With the world in danger from climate change, we walk the rocky hillside of our world in danger from 
climate change sowing the clover of light, hope and action.  We gathered at WATERSPIRIT at Stella Maris Retreat Center on December 7th to pray, create, meditate and send, in concert with Mother Earth, positive energy, light and thoughts to the world leaders gathering in Lima, Peru. We hope that this light intention, from faith gatherings around the world, will help enable the world leaders to come to enabling positive decisions and actions for the sake of Mother Earth and her communities of life.

As we know, Earth is at a tipping point.  Can our global leaders once and for all, at this crucial time in history, make the tough, difficult decisions to shift societies away from massive extraction and consumption of fossil fuels, to move us towards a transformative renewable energy future with more socially just, equitable ways of living in harmony with nature?  We do not have all of the answers to this vision, but we do know that as we move away from our disconnectedness from nature, and we realize humanities interconnectedness with the life systems of the Universe, we will see change and be the change.   We see change at local levels, in cities, in communities.   

Now we are calling for the global, international leaders to join the change, to see the possibilities.  We can make this transition with our divine human spirit and love for life, enabled by the cry and energy of Mother Earth. We as a global community can bring forth this transformation for the sake of all life.

We implore our world leaders to be enabled to enter into a dialogue that welcomes change, that welcomes communion for Earth, that welcomes transformation, that welcomes making the hard choices and decisions for climate change action that will save the ecosystems that sustain all life here on Earth.


The Wisdom to Survive Wednesday, January 21, 2015 2:00PM & 7:00PM

Come and Join us on 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015 

at 2:00 PM or 7:00PM 

for a screening of "The Wisdom to Survive"

 followed by a Q&A with Co-Director and Co-Producer John Ankele.