Walk with other Catholics as we learn, pray, and take action for environmental justice.
In his encyclical Laudato Si’, Pope Francis invites all people to act on behalf of creation. This call to action is grounded in the principle of integral ecology—the idea that environmental, social, political, and economic systems are interwoven—and sustained by a sense of wonder before the interconnected nature of all life. The environmental justice movement similarly asks us to view the world as interconnected and prophetically calls us to change the systems that create the unjust distribution of environmental hazards.
For 21 days, we challenge you to:
- enter into the complex work of understanding the connections between environmental injustices that disproportionately impact Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC), as well as low income communities
- listen to and learn from the voices of environmental justice leaders from frontline communities
- better understand the connections between current and historical environmental injustices
- respond to the call to work towards a lived vision of a world in which all of God’s creation can flourish
Take the challenge
You can sign up for daily challenge emails, or participate via the website below.
Why are the sponsor organizations hosting this challenge?
Climate justice and human dignity are intricately connected and “a true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment…” (Laudato Si, 49). It is not by chance that most environmental hazards in the United States and globally are located in communities where Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) live as well as low-income communities.
This challenge aims to educate the Catholic community about the social, political, and economic systems that have created this inequity and the work that environmental justice leaders have been doing for decades to ensure environmental equity and justice for all people.
- Catholic Climate Covenant
- Global Catholic Climate Movement
- Ignatian Solidarity Network
- Office of Justice and Ecology at the Jesuit Conference of the United States and Canada
- Sisters of Mercy
What is the format of the challenge?
A daily email will be sent with resources that invite you to learn, pray, and act on a particular environmental justice topic. In the learn section, the first resource is intended for people who are just learning about environmental justice. The GOING DEEPER resource is intended for people who have a solid foundation in environmental justice issues and who might want to explore the topic at a different depth. However, feel free to explore all of the content as time allows.
While you will receive approximately 5 resources daily, it is not expected that you read or do everything in the email. Explore the resources, and pick 1 or 2 items that you believe will best help you to engage with the topic for the day.
Can I do the challenge with other people?
Yes! While it is not required to complete the challenge as a group, we encourage you to reach out to another person or small group of people. Going through the 21-day challenge as a group will help with accountability and will have the added benefit of providing conversation and prayer partners throughout the experience.
How do weekends work?
New content will not be sent during the weekend; however, that does not mean that the challenge stops. St. Ignatius invites us into the practice of “repetition” in our prayer practice. During repetition we return to a previous prayer period in order to become more attentive to the movements of God in our heart. In that spirit, during the weekends throughout the challenge, you are invited into prayerful consideration of the past week. Prayer and reflection prompts for the weekend will be provided.
As you look back over the week, which themes produced a strong emotion or left you wanting to explore more? Engage with a resource you didn’t have time to use during the week, explore the additional resource for the day, or take time to prayerfully journal or talk to God about what came up for you in relation to a theme.
What happens if I miss some of the daily prompts?
Ideally you will engage with even a small amount of the material daily from Monday through Friday. Save additional resources or longer resources for the weekend. We encourage you to try to intentionally schedule a particular time each day to engage with the material for the duration of the challenge to make it more likely that you will remain faithful to the practice.
If you do fall behind, don’t worry! The links for each of the days will remain active so that you can come back to the resources as you are able. You will also have the weekend to catch up. Please remember that this process is about QUALITY of engagement not quantity of resources consumed. If you engage with ONE resource in a meaningful way daily, that’s enough. This work and learning will last a lifetime, so do what you can to make it sustainable.
What is environmental justice?
The Environmental Protection Agency defines environmental justice as “the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income, with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. This goal will be achieved when everyone enjoys:
- The same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards, and
- Equal access to the decision-making process to have a healthy environment in which to live, learn, and work.”
Why are the themes land, air, and water?
Environmental justice issues are complex and expansive and can range anywhere from local public health issues, such as lead poisoning and air pollution, to multinational land rights and mining issues. The 21 Day Challenge will not be able to address every environmental justice issue that exists; however, all people live on land, breathe air, and drink water. Our hope is that participants will be able to relate the themes and topics presented in the 21 Day Challenge to their own neighborhoods and watersheds.
On Fridays each week, you will be invited to learn more about your own bio-region and the environmental justice issues related to land, air, and water in your own community. We hope that this challenge will be a solid foundation for you to begin viewing ecological issues through an environmental justice lens and that it will inspire you to keep exploring the interconnections in your future environmental advocacy.
Why 21 days?
While we recognize that environmental injustice will not end in a period of three weeks, studies show that committing sustained attention to a particular area in our life for 21 days can be the starting point for new habits and enduring change. Setting intentional time aside to attempt to grow in our social justice habits and prayerful contemplation around racial equity, power, privilege, and ecological conversion can help us to grow individually towards lives of justice. Our individual commitment is what will ultimately help to transform structures of the Catholic Church and world.
Where did the idea for a 21 day challenge originate?
Dr. Eddie Moore, Jr. and Debby Irving are credited as the original creators of the 21-Day Challenge format, and the challenge has been adapted by many organizations across the country, including the YWCA of Cleveland, which inspired ISN’s original version of the challenge.
St. Ignatius and the Jesuits lived by the motto “for the greater glory of God” and were willing to travel as needed to respond to the needs of the Church. The need for racial justice work in the lives of individuals and the Church is clear and that the work of anti-racism is indeed “For the Greater Glory of God.” ISN hopes that the challenge will provide a way for people to begin or continue the process of anti-racism in their lives and communities by exploring racial equity in light of our faith and Ignatian Spirituality.
Dr. Eddie Moore, Jr. and Debby Irving are credited as the original creators of the 21-Day Challenge format, and the challenge has been adapted by many organizations across the country, including the YWCA of Cleveland, which inspired ISN’s version of the challenge.
Learn more about the sponsoring organizations
Click the logos below to learn more about the creators of the 21-day Catholic environmental justice challenge.