News

2019

Earth Day 2019 is April 22nd. This year’s theme is Endangered Species Week, which we will celebrate through Saturday, April 27th.

Events:

April 24th and 25th — Chestnut Hill College, West Dining Room

Eco-Film Festival and Contest:

A table will be set up between 10:30 AM-1:00 PM to name 10 species that have gone extinct within the last year. Prizes for winners!

April 26th & 27th — SSJ Earth Center

Electronics Recycling: 9 AM – 2 PM each day with PAR RecycleWorks. The electronics are collected and disassembled by formerly incarcerated people who now have a meaningful job and are paid.

Prayer and Planting at Mount Saint Joseph — Date and time to be determined

2018

Due to the renovation of the MSJ Chapel, the Solstice celebration on December 21 is cancelled.

The SSJ Earth Center has received a grant of $12500.oo from the Land and Water Conservation Fund. This grant will assist in the education and advocacy work of the Earth Center. Places like Gettysburg Park, Independence Mall, and The John Heinz Wildlife Preserve can only survive with federal funding that assistas the public in accessing these national treasures.

During the Fall the SSJ Earth Center hosted two groups of women from residential facilities for a holistic health day. The day consists of a session using clay as a living organism, art with nature using a grapevine wreath with rosemary and lavender, Tibetan Bowls and jewelery making with natural elements of stones and wooden beads. Volunteer presenters and SSJ and Associates are the presenters.

Women from Interim House in Mt. Airy and Limen House in Wilmington, DE attended.Comments from the women include: “Thank you all for the wonderful experiences. It was a blessing to spend the day with all the sisters.” “I feel very blessed.”

Electronics Recycling with PAR RecycleWorks now happens twice a year. The electronics are collected and disassembled by formerly incarcerated people who now have a meaningful job and are paid. A second collection will take place during April around Earth Day, April 22.

Sister Mary Elizabeth presents a seminar in Chestnut Hill College classes on theology, global Concerns or Theological Imagination.

The Earth Center participated in the Archdiocesan Religious Education and Formation Conference at Archbishop Carroll High School on Saturday, November 3.

2017

S. Mary Elizabeth Clark, SSJ with three other faith leaders gave an interview on Planet Phildelphia on the morality of global climate change.

You may hear it and comment on it by going to
http://www.planetphiladelphia.com/podcasts
or call 484-278-1846

On June 1, President Trump announced that the U.S. would (1) withdraw from the Paris

Climate Agreement and (2) stop payments to the Green Climate Fund.

What is the Paris Climate Agreement?

The Paris Climate Agreement was signed by 197 nations in Paris on December 13, 2015 to

undertake ambitious efforts to combat climate change and adapt to its effects.

Specifically, the agreement aims to:

  • Reduce carbon dioxide emissions to keep global temperatures “well below” 2.0C
  • (3.6F) above pre-industrial times and “endeavour to limit” them even more, to 1.5 above pre-industrial times
  • Review each country’s contribution to cutting emissions every five years so they scale up to the challenge. Each country crafts their own program to meet carbon reductions.
  • Place particular focus on helping nations especially vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

The withdrawal process by the U.S. will not be finalized till November 2020. Halting future payments to the Green Climate Fund, which is uniquely focused on helping vulnerable nations adapt to climate change, could begin immediately.

Why tackle climate change?

Climate change is already harming vulnerable people throughout the U.S. and around the world. Communities in Louisiana and Alaska are being displaced by rising sea levels caused by melting glaciers and thermal expansion. Across the globe, families are being devastated by crushing drought amidst some of the hottest years on record. Entire islands in the South Pacific are at risk of disappearing. The World Health Organization warns that “between 2030 and 2050, climate change is expected to cause approximately 250,000 additional deaths per

year from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhea and heat stress.” Both at home and abroad, climate

change unjustly and disproportionately harms poor and marginalized people who contribute least to the problem.

What does Catholic Social Teaching say about climate change?

Care for Creation is one of the seven themes of Catholic social teaching as outlined by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), who have stated: “We show our respect for the Creator by our stewardship of creation. Care for the earth is not just an Earth Day slogan, it is a requirement of our faith. We are called to protect people and the planet, living our faith in relationship with all of God’s creation. This environmental challenge has fundamental moral and ethical dimensions that cannot be ignored.”

What do the US Catholic Bishops say about the Paris Climate Agreement and the GCF?

“The USCCB, along with Pope Francis and the entire Catholic Church, have consistently upheld the Paris agreement as an important international mechanism to promoteenvironmental stewardship and encourage climate change mitigation. The President’s decision not to honor the U.S. commitment to the Paris agreement is deeply troubling.” (June 1, 2017 statement of Bishop Oscar Cantú of Las Cruces, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on International Justice and Peace).

“From the perspective of Catholic social teaching, adaptation ranks among the most important actions we can take. The poor and vulnerable disproportionately suffer from hurricanes, floods, droughts, famines and water scarcities. Climate change is one more good reason for Christians to live up to what we should be doing in the first place: ‘For I was hungry you gave me food, I was thirsty you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me’ (Mt 25,35). Globally, the Green Climate Fund (GCF) furthers the cause of adaptation by supporting developing nations in building resilience and recovering from the impacts of climate change around the world. Such resilience improves lives and promotes stability and security.” (Feb. 17th letter from CRS and USCCB to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson)

What can you do?

Go to www.catholicclimatecovenant.org/pledge and pledge to act, live, and advocate for creation care and the poor. Sign the St. Francis/Laudato Si’ Pledge to act, live, and advocate for creation care and vulnerable people.

415 Michigan Avenue, N.E. Suite 260
Washington, D.C. 20017
(202) 756-5545
catholicclimatecovenant.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

125 Catholic Leaders Sign Letter Supporting Clean Power Plan

 

Washington, D.C. – February 16, 2017 – One hundred and twenty-five U.S. Catholic leaders have signed a letter organized by the Catholic Climate Covenant in support of the Clean Power Plan (CPP). The CPP is a significant U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) effort to reduce carbon pollution from existing power plants 30 percent by 2030 compared to 2005 levels. The Clean Power Plan is the nation’s most ambitious effort to reduce climate-changing greenhouse gas pollution but faces an uncertain future in the Trump administration. The letter has been delivered by the Catholic Climate Covenant to the new EPA administrator as well as President Trump, top Congressional leaders, and state governors.

The group of Catholic leaders – which includes college and university presidents, women and men religious, theologians, and Catholic non-profit directors – stresses that Church teaching on the care of creation is deeply connected to the protection of human life and dignity, especially of the poor and vulnerable. The leaders also highlight Pope Francis’s emphasis on the “urgent need to develop policies so that, in the next few years, the emission of carbon dioxide and other highly polluting gases can be drastically reduced, for example, substituting fossil fuels and developing sources of renewable energy” (Laudato Si’ 26).

In response to the call of His Holiness, the leaders join with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and other faith leaders who have called for a national carbon pollution standard like the Clean Power Plan. In particular, the leaders believe that the Clean Power Plan “will protect public health, promote equality, address climate change, and help create new economic opportunities in communities across the country.”

Nearly two-dozen states, including Oklahoma where new EPA head Scott Pruitt was attorney general, filed suit against the EPA to stop the CPP. That suit currently awaits a ruling by the DC Federal Circuit Court. The Catholic leaders continue that “if the Courts do not uphold the Clean Power Plan, then we call upon Congress to replace the CPP with new policies that will achieve the same or more ambitious carbon reduction goals. In that case, we also urge elected officials in each state to meet and exceed the carbon reduction goals identified for their state in the Clean Power Plan.” However they continue that “no matter the legal fate of the CPP, we believe that Congress will need to take additional steps in the years ahead to reduce domestic carbon pollution even more.” In conjunction with such legislative action, the leaders also advocate for accompanying transition programs (e.g., job training) that assist local communities which rely heavily upon some aspect of the fossil fuel industry.”

Following delivery of the letter, Catholic Climate Covenant Executive Director, Dan Misleh, said, “Saint John Paul II, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and Pope Francis all explicitly recognized human-forced climate change as a moral issue and called on people of faith and goodwill to take action. The U.S. Catholic bishops recognize a national carbon pollution standard like the Clean Power Plan as one such important action, and this letter demonstrates the commitment of the U.S. Catholic community to prophetically advocate for policies that care for our common home.”

For more information: info@catholicclimatecovenant.org; 202-756-5545;   http://www.catholicclimatecovenant.org

Catholic Climate Covenant inspires and equips people and institutions to care for creation and care for the poor. Through our sixteen national partners, we guide the U.S. Church’s response to climate change by educating, giving public witness, and offering resources.

Members United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: Department of Justice, Peace, and Human Development & Migration and Refugee Ser vices · Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities · Carmelite NGO · Catholic Charities USA · Catholic Health Association of the United States · Catholic Relief Services · Catholic Rural Life · Columban Center for Outreach and Advocacy · Conference of Major Superiors of Men · Franciscan Action Network · Global Catholic Climate Movement · Leadership Conference of Women Religious · National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry

  • National Council of Catholic Women Sisters of Mercy of the Americas

We are living in uncertain and troubling times. President-elect Trump has stated his intent to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement, an agreement supported by Pope Francis and the result of over a decade of negotiations by global leaders.  He has also questioned the veracity of climate change and climate science. Last week, he nominated Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt who questions the climate science consensus and was among the first attorneys general to sue the EPA to stop the Clean Power Plan, a national carbon pollution standard supported by the U.S. bishops.

As Catholics, we recognize our responsibility to advocate on behalf of creation and the poor. Our advocacy is now more important than ever. Please join us in reaching our goal to deliver a petition signed by thousands of Catholics calling on President Trump to honor the Paris Agreement, the Green Climate Fund, and the Clean Power Plan!

We need you to add your voice and we need your help to reach others!                                          

The petition calls upon our next president to honor our international commitments and to act to solve the climate crisis. We plan to deliver the petition to the President shortly after the inauguration on January 20th.

Please distribute the petition widely. Share the electronic link with friends and family, on social media, and in your parish bulletin. Use the paper version  to collect signatures after Mass or during other church or school events. For more ideas about how to promote the petition download our toolkit.

Please sign and then distribute the petition widely!

We thank you for your support and solidarity. Together we will ensure that the Catholic voice is heard and that our common home and the poor are protected. Consider making a donation today to support this and all our climate advocacy efforts in 2017. Together we will make a difference!

Mark your calendar for 2017

November 2017 Chestnut Hill College will host its Fifth Annual Urban Sustainability Conference at the Sugar Loaf Campus. Watch for more details.

2016

From Darkness to Light..

Winter Solstice Prayer

When:
Wednesday,
December 21, 2016
6:30 p.m.
Gather at
SSJ Earth Center
9701 Germantown Ave.
Chestnut Hill,
Philadelphia
Procession to
Labyrinth
Prayer in Mount
Saint Joseph Convent
Auditorium followed
by winter snacks
Please R.S.V.P.
215-248-7289 or
mclark@ssjphila.org
Directions:
Turn right into front gate off
Germantown Avenue •
Turn right at first driveway • Earth Center
is on your left • Park in lower lot.