Nearly thirty years ago, the U.S. Catholic Conference of Catholic Bishops stated:
“At its core, the environmental crisis is a moral challenge. It calls us to examine how we use and share the goods of the earth, what we pass on to future generations, and how we live in harmony with God’s creation.”
“The whole human race suffers as a result of environmental blight, and generations yet unborn will bear the cost for our failure to act today. [T]he poor and the powerless . . . most directly bear the burden of current environmental carelessness. Their lands and neighborhoods are more likely to be polluted or to host toxic waste dumps, their water to be undrinkable, their children to be harmed.”
“We ask the Catholic community: How are we called to care for God’s creation? How may we apply our social teaching, with its emphasis on the life and dignity of the human person, to the challenge of protecting the earth, our common home? What can we in the Catholic community offer to the environmental movement, and what can we learn from it?” (From An Invitation to Reflection and Action on Environment in Light of Catholic Social Teaching; A Pastoral Statement of the United States Catholic Conference November 14, 1991)
- Dr. Catherine Wright, Associate Professor of Religion and Philosophy, Executive Director of Collaborative for the Common Good, Wingate University
- Veronica Coptis, Executive Director of the Center for Coalfield Justice.
In this first part of the Laudato Si’ Focus on Environmental Justice series, Dr. Catherine Wright will unpack the meaning of environmental justice and how Catholic Social Teaching (in particular Laudato Si’) gives us a helpful lens to view and act on this timely issue. Veronica Coptis will present on her organization’s collaboration with area residents living with the daily impacts of fossil fuel extraction to improve oversight of and accountability for fossil fuel extraction and use, and to protect public and environmental health.
The second part of the series will be scheduled in February and will also include presenters sharing first-hand stories of how their communities are addressing environmental injustice, and include a focus on how U.S. Catholics can accompany them.