Laudato sì Action Platform: God chooses the little ones to change the world
By Michele Raviart
“The cry of the poor and the cry of the earth resounded in recent days at the just concluded COP26 in Glasgow on climate change,” said Pope Francis after the recitation on Sunday of the Angelus Prayer.
Addressing the faithful the Pope also encouraged “those with political and economic responsibilities to act now with courage and farsightedness” and invited “all people of goodwill to exercise active citizenship for the care of the common home.”
Endorsing the “Laudato sì Action Platform,” an online hub that collects, directs, and coordinates global and local initiatives inspired by the encyclical on care for creation, the Pope officially declared registration open and encouraged people to sign-up.
Father Joshtrom Kureethadam, the coordinator of the Ecology and Creation sector of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, said the Pope’s endorsement of the initiative is enormously invigorating.
How did you receive this appeal?
With great joy, because it is providential that this appeal was made by the Pope precisely on the Day of the Poor. I was struck by the fact that the Pope recalled the cry of the poor, saying that it is intimately linked with the cry of the earth... These were two cries that we heard at the COP in Glasgow. Science is clear. Time is short. Our brothers and sisters and our children are already suffering, especially in the poorest countries. Their cry is providential. That's what we heard at COP and in all these years, from the young people engaged in this field... The Pope's call also struck me because he insists on ecological citizenship. Pope Francis says: "We must all take responsibility; everyone can make their contribution."
Who can sign up to the “Laudato sì Action Platform” and what initiatives does it foresee?
The Platform is open to everyone, we are all invited to become ecological citizens of this common home. We thought of seven sectors, we were inspired, as a Dicastery, to choose this number – seven - because it is a biblical number that represents wholeness... So there are seven sectors: families; individuals; parishes and dioceses; schools and universities; hospitals and health care centers; the world of economy which is very important (businesses, including in the agricultural field, cooperatives, the world of work); a large sector of NGOs (groups, movements, organizations, communication centers that have a very important role in this area); and finally religious orders, both the male and female branches. The first objective is to involve everyone. Then we proposed seven Laudato si' objectives that reflect the originality of the encyclical. We respond to the cry of the earth and therefore energy, water, biodiversity, but also to the cry of the poor, the indigenous communities, migrants, refugees... The third goal is related to ecological economy. We need to rethink our economy, recalling that we also have the experience of "The Economy of Francis". the fourth goal is a lifestyle change. There is a beautiful paragraph in the encyclical about the things that everyone can do, even simple things: turn off the lights, buy only what you really cook, take public transportation... Simple things. Because, if we don't change our lifestyle, we won't save the planet. And then the fifth and sixth, which correspond to the two pillars of the encyclical are education and spirituality. This is the main road to take because spirituality is the source of our faith in God. And finally the seventh, which incorporates in some way the other six objectives: that all this be done as a community.
The platform has been online since last May. What has changed with this new phase and what has been the outcome of these months of activity?
Yes, the platform is one of the fruits of the Laudato sì Year. On 25 May, after its conclusion, Pope Francis recorded a video message with which he launched the Laudato sì Action Platform. Thanks to our partners, especially the “Laudato sì Movement,” we were able to create a website in nine languages. In the meantime, we have been collaborating with working groups to make these seven goals concrete. People could pre-register right away. We already have thousands of subscribers and it will be possible to register until 22 April 22, Earth Day. Our hope is to double inscriptions every year. Time is short, our most vulnerable brothers and sisters cannot wait any longer but the thing that gives us hope is that we can act and act together, responding to Pope Francis' invitation to join the Laudato si' Platform.