The Healthy Earth Team is our parish response to Pope Francis’ clarion call to ecological conversion issued in his encyclical Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home. Formed in 2015, our mission is to inspire our parish through educational initiatives to connect the tenets of our Catholic faith and the need for action in protecting our common home from ecological exploitation and injustice. We released the first version of our Laudato Si’ Action Platform Plan for the parish in April 2022.
Our insistence that each human being is an image of God should not make us overlook the fact that each creature has its purpose. None is superfluous. The entire material universe speaks of God’s love, his boundless affection for us. Soil, water, mountains: everything is, as it were, a caress of God. – Laudato Si’, Para. 84
With each passing day, the need becomes ever more urgent to awaken to the climate and environmental crisis before us. Pope Francis calls us to “the moral imperative of assessing the impact of our every action and personal decision on the world around us,” to become stewards of God’s world, compelled to protect and live in just relationship with all people and with the planet itself.
Today’s environmental crisis most especially affects the poor and vulnerable among us. The Jesuits have responded to this dual call–the cry of the Earth and the poor–by affirming Care for our Common Home as one of the four Universal Apostolic Preferences for the next ten years (2019-2029).
The Healthy Earth Team divides our work into four focus areas – Pray, Learn, Act, and Advocate – framed by our Laudato Si Action Platform Plan, released in April 2022. This plan helps to inform and organize activities across the parish as we together care for our common home.
In Pray and Learn, the team offers reflection series and educational resources throughout the year, especially during Earth Month in April. You can watch a video of one team members’ Earth month reflection here.
On the Act front, the team coordinates two major Service and Solidarity Teams connected to food security and urban sustainability; the Fresh is Better: Evanston Garden Project and the NEXUS Community Garden and Urban Farm. These projects provide opportunities to establish meaningful connections with the Bellarmine and Earth communities.
In Act, the team also focuses on building a greener Bellarmine by evaluating and supporting updates to our facility and operations, including recycling initiatives and energy efficiency upgrades. Check out our Recycling Do’s and Don’ts Fact Sheet (Updated April 2021).
Finally, for Advocate, the Team joins alongside partners, like Faith Communities Go Green, to promote environmentally just legislation locally, at a national level.