On Earth Day, which this year falls on April 22, Easter Monday, Catholics around the world are coming together in solidarity with those who share our Earth’s forests, and especially those in the Amazon.
The Global Catholic Climate Movement says individuals and Catholic communities are being invited to plant a tree “to symbolise your community’s commitment and advocate for better policies to protect all creation”.
“Advocate for action on climate change to protect the Amazon, and plant a tree to symbolise your community’s commitment to protecting forestland,” the GCCM says on its website.
The GCCM says the time to act is now, as approximately 17 per cent of the Amazonian rainforest has been cut down and forests provide oxygen and store carbon that helps everyone to survive.
The call to action in local communities comes ahead of Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon region, in the Vatican in October.
The theme of the synod is: “Amazonia: New Paths for the Church and for an Integral Ecology.”
Vatican News reports that the idea of such a synod was born out of Pope Francis’ 2015 environmental encyclical “Laudato Si – On Care for Our Common Home”, which calls for action on global warming and pinpoints the Pan-Amazon Region as an area of concern.
When Pope Francis visited the Amazonia region for the first time at Puerto Maldonado in southeast Peru on January 19, 2018, he said that the indigenous people of the Amazonia have never been so threatened as they are now.
The synod will pay attention to the theme of the environment, ecology, and care for creation, our ‘common home’. All these will be presented in the light of the teaching and life of the Church, working in the region.
The Global Catholic Climate Movement has a range of resources for communities to use to celebrate Earth Day, including an event planning guide, an advocacy guide, and lesson plans.
To access these resources or to find out more information head to the GCCM website.