Respond to the Cry of the Earth
This goal is a call to protect our common home for the wellbeing of all, as we address the climate crisis, biodiversity loss and ecological sustainability.
Empower your community to respond to the cry of the Earth with this Ignatian toolkit.
For Ignatius, discernment started with a close study of his feelings. He broke them down into two categories: consolation and desolation. Broadly put, consolation draws us closer to God and others with emotions like joy, gratitude or sorrow for our sins. Desolation pulls us away from God, and it can manifest in feelings like restlessness and hopelessness. This doesn’t mean our feelings are good or bad. Ignatius simply noted whether the movements of his heart propelled him toward or away from God.
When thinking about the climate crisis and environmental injustice, it’s easy to feel despair, anxiety or apathy. As you discern your action plan, reflect on your feelings. Do you feel angry or depressed about environmental issues? Where are these feelings pointing you — toward or away from God?
Ignatius cautions not to make decisions in a state of desolation. We might do more harm than good. Instead, our decisions should arise from experiences that are drawing us closer to God. Perhaps you find peace and spiritual fulfillment in tending a community garden. Or maybe you feel most energized at a climate policy protest. These feelings could be clues to what God is calling you to do now.
To avoid the worst impacts of climate change, we need to reduce global CO2 emissions to zero by 2050. Rather than approach this fact with hopelessness or panic, we can respond to the cry of the Earth through our unique talents and skills.
For each of us, that contribution is different. By instituting a food composting program, John Carroll University diverted 24 tons of food waste from landfills in just one year. At Gesu Detroit Jesuit parish, solar panels have dramatically reduced reliance on fossil fuel-based energy.
There are many affordable and accessible lifestyle changes that communities, families and individuals can make to protect the Earth from global warming. Whether you want to invest in solar panels or commit to taking public transportation more frequently, your choices make a difference.