“There is a growing sensitivity to the environment and the need to protect nature, along with a growing concern, both genuine and distressing, for what is happening to our planet… Our goal is not to amass information or to satisfy curiosity, but rather to become painfully aware, to dare to turn what is happening to the world into our own personal suffering and thus to discover what each of us can do about it.” Laudato Si, #19

In the 1980s, the United Nations International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) all joined together to produce a slim pamphlet called “Facts for Life.” The premise was that without any further research, we know enough today to save millions of children’s lives each year; we just need to communicate this knowledge and enable implementation. This is where we are with the health of our environment: we know what we need to do to help the environment, we just need to put knowledge into action and do it.  

Planting trees and restoring forests is one of the best things we can do for the health of the environment and ourselves. Actions like this are as spiritually healing as they are healing to the environment. Ask yourself, what can I do today that will help the environment? Is there something I am not doing because I need help? Think about who could help you and reach out to that person or organization. Use the prayer below as your impetus to action:

A Prayer for Our Earth – By Pope Francis

All-powerful God,

You are present in the whole universe and in the smallest of your creatures. 

You embrace with your tenderness all that exists.

Pour out upon us the power of your love, 

that we may protect life and beauty. 

Fill us with peace, that we may live 

as brothers and sisters, harming no one. 

O God of the poor,

Help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth, so precious in your eyes. 

Bring healing to our lives, 

that we may protect the world and not prey on it,

that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction. Touch the hearts 

of those who look only for gain 

at the expense of the poor and the earth. 

Teach us to discover the worth of each thing,

to be filled with awe and contemplation,

to recognize that we are profoundly united 

with every creature 

as we journey towards your infinite light.

We thank you for being with us each day.

Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle 

for justice, love and peace. 

Amen.