The future of humanity does not lie solely in the hands of great leaders, the great powers, and the elites. It is fundamentally in the hands of peoples and in their ability to organize.—Pope Francis, in address to Popular Movements
To truly achieve the global climate change crisis, and to achieve the vision set out in Laudato Si’, we need not only personal lifestyle change—we need societal change as well. And often changes to society can only be achieved through political change, advocacy and organizing.
Advocacy and organizing can look very different from one community to the next, and certainly from one country to the next. Example might include writing letters to elected officials, attending town halls or local council meetings, meeting with a political leader, or even attending a march.
Here are five tips to help you get started no matter where you are, and one global campaign that anyone can take part in:
1. Connect with local organizations. Try to find local groups engaged in advocacy and see how you can connect with them. Ideas include GreenPeace or 350.org,or national or local organizations such as the Catholic Climate Covenant or Interfaith Power and Light in the United States, The Green Belt Movement in Kenya, or Catholic Earthcare Australia. And look around to find groups active in your local area, through internet searches and asking your friends and family.
2. Hold listening sessions. Identify what needs to change in your community by bringing people together and discussing what the problems are. Parishes or other congregation buildings are a good place to hold these. Other options might be a library, school or community center. Is there a pipeline being built through farmland? No funding for public transportation of bike lanes? A lack of renewable electricity options? Discuss what change you would most like to see in your community.
3. Become experts on how politics works. One of the most important aspects of advocacy is identifying what you can change and how to do it. Work with a local school or a local advocacy organization to hold classes on how a bill becomes a law, when your general assembly is in session, and what ways your church is allowed to be engaged in politics in your country.
4. Encourage your parish to see advocacy as part of ministry. Invite others at your church to engage in advocacy initiatives as part of their work as a green team or community outreach. You can hold postcard or letter writing campaigns at your church, bring parishioners together to visit and talk with members of parliament, mayors, or local council meetings.
5. Pray and Act. With your ministry, your issue and your knowledge, identify your first action. Ask your parish to pray for the intentions and success of your ministry, and begin advocating for strong policies to limit emissions, protect creation, and bring Laudato Si’ to life.
Advocacy Opportunity: Petition to World Bank to Stop Funding Fossil Fuels
While you are taking the time to build and train your team and invest in the long term organizing that the world needs, you can take part in an advocacy campaign today to encourage the shift to a green, clean future for all.
Sign this petition by our partners at Christian Aid in asking the World Bank to halt their funding of dirty energy projects, provide greater transparency on the projects they do fund, and commit to addressing energy poverty through funding clean energy projects.
Right now, we need urgent action to limit carbon emissions and tackle climate change. However, while there is a global effort to reduce emissions, and powerful institutions such as the World Bank have agreed to shift investments and work towards limiting climate change. The World Bank itself has a Climate Change Action Plan. However, they are also continuing to fund extraction projects for fossil fuel, and new fossil fuel burning power plants, undermining any other work they are doing to combat climate change.