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.  

Reflect

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.  

Discussion

With members of your household, community or institution, discuss the fruits of your prayers and how they might point you toward concrete action. Consider these reflection questions for guidance:

  • What are the environmental injustices in our community?
  • How are our actions and lifestyle connected to these issues?
  • What strengths or resources can we offer in response?
  • What is our capacity to act?
  • What will it take to plan for and commit to long-term changes to our actions or ways of operating?

Respond

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. 

Brainstorm your action

Make your plan

The Jesuits in Australia have developed a comprehensive Laudato Si' Action Plan with examples of how ministries can implement a plan on a smaller scale. 

Share your actions

Send us a brief email, telling us how you and your community are walking the path of renewal. We may feature your story on this page or on our Twitter, @JesuitJustice.

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