Catholics lead climate strikes

May 29, 2019

Pope Francis called Catholics to “go into the streets” and demand action on climate change.

On 24 May, young Catholics and their parents, teachers, aunts, and uncles in 100+ Catholic events responded in a big way by joining 1.5 million people in the global climate strike.

Young people demonstrate outside the White House

Preparing a sign in Quito

The strikes were inspired by Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish student who has galvanized a worldwide movement to strike for climate change. A video that Greta shared with Global Catholic Climate Movement after her meeting with Pope Francis is available here.

Prayerful, intentional action to overcome our shared challenges–tackling the climate crisis builds on the love we share as Catholics.

Sign for march in Ecuador

Actions stretched from the White House to Rome, from Nigeria to Ecuador, and beyond. Each group acted in its own way, united by a sense of urgency to solve the climate catastrophe. Here are a few examples:

  • In Trinidad and Tobago, Catholic students marched to the archbishop’s residence to deliver a letter asking the Church to take stronger climate action
  • In Argentina, a Laudato Si’ Animator organized a demonstration and rally that included a speech on climate action from the bishop
  • In Nigeria, Catholic schools set aside time for a march and children spoke about the importance of caring for creation

Public demonstration in Rome

Catholics are calling for change, and the world is listening:

  • Cardinal Peter Turkson, the head of the Vatican’s office on social and environmental concerns, celebrated the anniversary of Laudato Si’ with a message that “Generation Laudato Si’ . . .challenges communities of faith and civil society to a radical ecological conversion in action.”
  • Newspapers are publishing stories like this one for hundreds of thousands of people to learn more.

We have 11 short years to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% or more, and Catholics are speaking truth to power. The next climate strike will take place on 20 September. Plan your action by visiting Laudato Si’ Generation, the movement of young Catholics taking action on the climate crisis.

Action at the Boston statehouse

Catholics are calling world leaders to hear both the “cry of the earth and cry of the poor,” as Pope Francis wrote in Laudato Si’. Our poor and vulnerable sisters and brothers suffer most from hotter summers, changing monsoons, and growing deserts. Younger generations face a future that none of us can imagine. We’re calling for a to stop this, and the world is listening.

The Climate Strikes are about more than signs and slogans. As our love for creation deepens, it changes the way that we live, worship, and serve one another. By prayerfully fighting climate change, we are “transformed by the renewal of our minds,” and learn what “is good and pleasing and perfect” to God. (Rom. 12:2)