“In the family, we first learn how to show love and respect for life; we are taught the proper use of things, order and cleanliness, respect for the local ecosystem, and care for all creatures.” (LS 213)
Pope Francis puts a special emphasis on the family and its importance as the place we first learn about Ecological Education, one of the seven Laudato Si’ Goals.
And while Ecological Education can “encourage ways of acting which directly and significantly affect the world around us,” it is in the “simple gestures of heartfelt courtesy” and “little daily actions” that it is taken from our own homes to our common home. (LS 211, 213)
Ten Ecological Education Actions Your Family Can Take Today
These ten Ecological Education actions, encouraging learning about our common home and the ways to protect it, can be done right now in your home and community:
- Read a paragraph or passage from Laudato Si’ every week; discuss it as a family and decide on concrete actions to take in response
- Map three to five different trees at your home or in a local park and find out whether they are native, domesticated, or invasive
- If appropriate, volunteer at your children’s or grandchildren’s school, supporting activities that teach ecological awareness, such as reading a book on ecology or writing letters of thanks to teachers who focus on ecology
- If your family keeps a pet, encourage your children to consider how the pet represents all animal life
- If your family keeps a garden or a collection of potted plants, encourage your children to consider how it represents all plant life
- Help your children experience nature in mindful ways by taking a walk and demonstrating to them how to quietly listen to God’s message in Creation
- Emphasize Catholic social teaching on human rights, especially the rights of those who are most vulnerable, during times of family prayer
- Involve all members of the family in the planning of Laudato Si’ initiatives, with special attention to children and young people
- Share the comprehensive approach of integral ecology: that it respects all life on Earth, including human life
- Identify a neighborhood rubbish dump, empty lot, or similar place and organize work days to plant plants, install ponds and other habitats, or otherwise do what is necessary to restore the space to become a thriving habitat
Dive Deeper into Ecological Education
CAFOD—an international development charity and the official aid agency of the Catholic Church in England and Wales—has provided an invaluable webinar outlining 17 Sustainable Development Goals, including specific goals related to Ecological Education.
As further inspiration, each step of the way, Green Churches, a charitable organization helping Christian communities in Canada care for God’s Creation, offers these beautiful prayers for creation from the Psalms and the Saints.
“Good education plants seeds when we are young, and these continue to bear fruit throughout life.” (LS 213)
Families around the world are sowing the seeds of gratitude and forgiveness, justice and peace, and the precious protection of our common home, growing a garden of care together.