Justice and Peace Issues

Earth Day April 22, 2024

Monday, April 22 marks the 54th anniversary of Earth Day. The 2024 theme is “Planet vs. Plastics”.
Why Planet vs. Plastics?
Visit the Earth Day website to learn more about the 2024 theme and the program to reduce the use of plastics by 2040.

Earth Day was the brainchild of Gaylord Nelson, a politician and environmentalist who served as a U.S. senator and governor. He had many concerns about the damaged environment in the US, including the large oil spill off the coast of Santa Barbara, California, in 1969. He was also inspired by student anti-war protests and their passion for change during the Vietnam War, as well as the impacts the war had on spending priorities in the country. In the hope of expanding public awareness about air and water pollution, Senator Nelson led environmental teach-ins on campuses across the country – backed by activist Denis Hayes and co-chair Pete McCloskey.
The first Earth Day was marked in 1970 and became a huge success, with 20 million people participating nationwide in the US. People took part by demonstrating in parks, streets and auditoriums against oil spills, power plants, sewage, toxic dumps, loss of wilderness and more.
It also came at a time when a wave of legislation was being passed in the US, including the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act and Endangered Species Act – the next 10 years were seen as the “environmental decade” because of such measures and the focus on green issues.
In 1990, Earth Day became a global event with 200 million people and 141 countries participating. During that year, the event also helped boost recycling efforts worldwide and in 1992, it paved the way for the United Nations Earth Summit.
In 1995, former US President Bill Clinton awarded Senator Nelson the Presidential Medal of Freedom, for his role as the Earth Day founder.
Abundant Living Worksheet
Simple living: God’s Vision of Abundant Life is a list with living simply, sustainably, and in solidarity as an individual, a family, and community ideas, Click here to download it: 2024 SimpleLiving Worksheet
A Prayer for Our Earth
Download this prayer of Pope Francis taken from Laudato Si’. Click here. A-Prayer-for-Our-Earth-Pope-Francis
Film: The Letter tells the story of a journey to Rome of frontline leaders to discuss the encyclical letter Laudato Si’ with Pope Francis. The exclusive dialogue with the Pope, included in the film, offers a revealing insight into the personal history of Pope Francis and stories never seen since he became the Bishop of Rome. Click here to watch.

Laudato Si’ Click here to download Pope Francis’ landmark encyclical. 

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