It's my favourite time of the year! There is an energy and excitement at this time of the year that is unlike any other time - the crispness in the air first thing in the morning that gives way to warm basking sun in the afternoon; students still joyful and full of enthusiasm for new adventures and projects, before the reality of exactly how many essays, assignments and exams are looming ahead of them sets in. But I think one of my favourite things about this time of the year is the bounty we enjoy at both farmers markets and in the garden with tomato plants laden with beautiful red fruit and zucchini threatening to take over the yard.
It seems hard to imagine that this beauty, what I would name as a gift from God, is being threatened by the very way we live. Well, if I am to be honest, by the way I live. And I think it is that kind of truth that many different groups, including the Catholic Church, are calling us to examine. This past June, Pope Francis released his much anticipated Encyclical Letter Laudato Si, On Care For Our Common Home placing climate change prominently on the list of Catholic social concerns.
The encyclical outlines the many ways in which climate change threatens the human race, how it impacts and links all the struggles facing humanity and our world today from poverty, to war, to drought. As one who has read and struggled through many encyclicals, I can honestly say this was a great read: clear, concise, thought provoking, challenging and affirming. I would strongly recommend it to anyone who wants to understand more about the challenges facing our world today. And perhaps, that is the beauty of the encyclical itself. It is not intended to be just for Catholics, or Christians, or even people of faith. Pope Francis writes it to all the people of the world. It truly is intended for all of us who live on this planet together, sharing one common home.
This theme of ecological justice has captured the Catholic imagination in a new way. On September 3, 2015 The Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) published a new resource entitled A Church Seeking Justice: The Challenge of Pope Francis to the Church in Canada.
This is yet another document, created for Canadian Catholics that encourages us to explore the impact of climate change and our responsibility to mitigate its challenges based on the principals of positive stewardship as articulated in the book of Genesis.
The challenge as educators is how to present this important reality to our students who must work with us to effect real change. Climate change issues truly are intergenerational, both at the root of the problem and the hope for solution.
Fortunately, there are many resources available to us to help explain the issues and commence work towards positive change.