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"Both global catastrophes, COVID and climate change, prove that we do not have time to wait..."

—Pope Francis, 2021 Earth Day Message


“The environment must be seen as God’s gift to all people, and the use we make of it entails a shared responsibility for all humanity, especially the poor and future generations..."

—Pope Benedict XVI


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University President Commitment Letter

Current List of Committed ACCU Institutions (11-10-2021)


In 2020, the world celebrated the fifth anniversary of Laudato Si, the encyclical in which Pope Francis drew new attention to the Church's concern for the environment. But did you know that, with this encyclical, the pope was continuing a well-established tradition? The modern Church has long recognized the relationship between humankind and the environment. In 1990, Saint John Paul II issued his landmark World Day of Peace Message: Ecological Responsibility and in 2009 Pope Benedict XVI issued his encyclical Caritas in Veritate

For its part, Catholic higher education has asserted its commitment to care for creation for many years. Ex corde Ecclesiae, the seminal document on Catholic universities issued by Saint John Paul II in 1990, notes in part: “As a natural expression of the Catholic Identity of the University, the university community should give a practical demonstration of its faith in its daily activities.”

That's why ACCU is enthusiastically participating in efforts to answer the Vatican's call to put Pope Francis' ecological encyclical into action. In May 2021, the Laudato Si' Action Platform was announced, with the pope inviting all Catholics on a seven-year journey "to create the future we want: a more inclusive, fraternal, peaceful and sustainable world." ACCU is pleased to offer new resources to help Catholic colleges and universities advance their commitment to integral ecology. 


Sustainability and Catholic Higher Education: A Toolkit for Mission Integration



New Resources





Featured articles:

Notre Dame's Sakimoto: Church has 'profound' role in addressing climate crisis
Read how one faculty member connects faith with science.

Laudato Si Five Years Later
From the summer 2020 edition of Update, the author reflects on the effect of the pope's incyclical on Catholic colleges — and how much more can be achieved.

Hymns, teach-ins and a horse ride to school: Catholic stories of the first Earth Day
The National Catholic Reporter took a look back at the origins of Earth Day and its connection to Catholic higher education.