Spiritual and Religious Leaders Who Have Affirmed Your EE Career - Laudato Sí Week | eePRO @ NAAEE
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Spiritual and Religious Leaders Who Have Affirmed Your EE Career - Laudato Sí Week

“Environmental education should facilitate making the leap towards the transcendent which gives ecological ethics its deepest meaning. It needs educators capable of developing an ethics of ecology, and helping people, through effective pedagogy, to grow in solidarity, responsibility and compassionate care.” (LS 210)
– Pope Francis, Laudato Sí: Care for Our Common Home, 2015

This week marks the 7th anniversary of Pope Francis' landmark encyclical on creation care and unite the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics (and all Christians) to listen and respond to the cry of God’s creation.

I began my graduate school capstone thesis with the quote above in 2016. This was the first time I had ever heard or read a religious leader affirm and validate my vocation as an environmental educator. It meant even more to me because I am Roman Catholic and Pope Francis is one of my heroes. I remember reading the entire Laudato Sí chapter about environmental education during that period of my life and almost immediately having an emotional response of deep joy and affirmation. I recommend the entire chapter Educating for the Covenant Between Humanity and the Environment of the encyclical (paragraphs 209-215) at http://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/encyclicals/documents/papa-fr...

Comprising nearly one-fifth of the world’s population organized in some 220,000 parishes worldwide, the Catholic Church can play a powerful role in solving the dual challenges of the climate emergency and ecological crisis.

The theme for the week is “Listening and Journeying Together.” The eight-day global event will be guided by the following quote from Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’: “Bringing the human family together to protect our common home” (LS 13). Events are being held around the globe that lift up Catholic teaching on biodiversity, responding to the cry of the poor, divestment, education, and eco-spirituality.

Laudato Si’ Week 2022 is sponsored by the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development and facilitated by Laudato Si’ Movement in collaboration with a cohort of Catholic partners.

You who are reading this are environmental educators, presumably. Please share in the discussion about spiritual and religious leaders who have affirmed you in your work.

When I became a Christian in college, I started looking for Christian role models working in the environmental field. The first person I met at that intersection was Ben Lowe (https://www.benlowe.net/), who wrote the book Green Revolution: Coming Together to Care for Creation.

As I've grown my desire to decolonize my faith and EE practice, I was very excited to learn about the work of Dr. Randy Woodley (https://www.randywoodley.com/), a Cherokee descendant and co-sustainer of Eloheh Indigenous Center for Earth Justice. His work addresses a variety of issues concerning American culture, faith, justice, race, our relationship with the earth, and Indigenous realities. I finished his book Becoming Rooted: 100 Days of Reconnecting with Sacred Earth, which was a transformative delight.