Diocesan and State Activities
The Environmental Justice Program has received a grant to develop a program to address the issue of global climate change. The initiative has three components. The first is education. A parish education kit will be prepared for distribution and also displayed on the internet. The materials will focus on the effects of climate change on poor people and developing countries in light of Catholic social teaching. The second component will be a small grants program to help dioceses and Catholic organizations develop local Catholic leadership to address the issue. The third component will focus on state and local policy dimensions of climate change.
Children’s Health & the Environment
The Catholic Coalition for Children's Health and a Safe Environment (CASE), a coalition of major national Catholic organizations, engaged in a wide variety of activities including:
- The Catholic Health Association’s Catholic Health World April issue celebrated Earth Day featuring the contributions by Catholic health care ministry to environmental protection. Seventeen Catholic organizations were given awards by Hospitals for a Healthy Environment (H2E) including one for Environmental Leadership Award, two for Champions for Change Awards, and fourteen Partners for Change Awards.
- USCCB staff presented highlights of the efforts to protect children’s environmental health on the part of the Catholic Coalition for Children and a Safe Environment (CASE) at the “Renewing the Covenant” Convocation sponsored by the National Religious Partnership for the Environment (NRPE) on May 3. In addition to John Carr, Secretary of the Department of Social Development and World Peace, the Knights of Peter Claver project leader, Sylvia Washington, was a panelist at the roundtable “Critical Perspectives on Creation Care Activity in the Religious Community.”
- Representatives of CASE partner organizations led a workshop, “Caring for Children, Caring for Creation,” during 2005 Catholic Social Ministry Gathering last February.
- CASE partners--NCRLC, NCCW, Catholic Charities USA, the National Catholic Partnership on Disability and the USCCB’s Environmental Justice Program--distributed significant numbers of education materials on children’s health and the environment at their respective annual meetings and at the California Interfaith Partnership for Children’s Health and the Environment and Georgetown University’s Interfaith Alliance for a Sustainable Future.
Catholic Scholars Consultation
The Conference co-sponsored with the University of St. Thomas a major and very successful consultation on Catholic theology and the environment. The consultation took place October 29-31 in Owatona, MN for 60 participants including Catholic academics from a wide variety of Catholic universities as well as representatives from a number of major national Catholic organizations. This consultation is part of a wider effort to encourage more Catholic academics and universities to explore this topic and to deepen the Catholic intellectual contribution. This consultation explored the themes of the human person in the environment, the common good and our responsibilities to the poor in caring for creation. Efforts are underway to publish a book and develop other education materials based on the conference.
The National Religious Partnership for the Environment hosted a major ten year anniversary meeting on May 2-3, 2005 for its member groups including the Evangelical Environmental Network, the Coalition on Jewish Life and the Environment, the National Council of Churches and the USCCB. The meeting explored some current major environmental challenges facing the world, the role of the religious community in providing leadership to address these concerns and a summary of major activities and successes on the part of the religious community since the inception of the program. The USCCB had a delegation of twenty-five participants.
On January 13, 2005, the World Bank hosted a meeting of representatives from the religious community concerning global climate change. Because of the potential negative impact from climate change on so many of the poor around the world, representatives from the Orthodox, main line Protestant, Evangelicals and the Catholic Conference convened to explore initial options for greater visible leadership by the religious community concerning this issue.
Staff conducted a first time workshop on the theme of Environment and Trade at a conference in Tucson, April 13-16.