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“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


With the release of Laudato Si, Pope Francis drew new attention to the Church's concern for the environment. In fact, the pope is continuing a tradition; the modern Church has long recognized the relationship between humankind and the environment. In 1990, Pope 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.” 



Sustainability and Catholic Higher Education: A Toolkit for Mission Integration


Five for Five

This spring and fall, Catholic Climate Covenant is asking its member organizations to think about how we can put Laudato Si’ back on people’s radar in observance of the document’s fifth anniversary.  As part of this effort, ACCU is asking each of its member colleges and universities to do two things:

  1. First, this spring, use the activities your institutions may already be planning for Earth Day on April 22 to celebrate not only Earth Day’s 50th anniversary, but also Laudato Si’s fifth anniversary.  While it is certainly too late to plan new activities, it is not too late to use this occasion for an important teaching opportunity by helping our communities see, as St. Francis of Assisi saw, “just how inseparable the bond is between concern for nature, justice for the poor, commitment to society, and interior peace.”
  2. Second, September 1 to October 4 is the period Pope Francis refers to as the "Season of Creation."  Therefore, we’re formally asking every institution sometime during that period to plant five trees, either on your campus or in your local community in honor of Laudato Si’s fifth anniversary.  Please use your public relations staff to make your actions broadly known.  Consider incorporating a moment of prayer into the planting, as well as some quotation from Laudato Si’ itself.  No doubt many institutions will also see this as an ideal prompt for educational programming on the issue.  

Our campaign’s name is simple:  FIVE TREES for FIVE YEARS of LAUDATO SI’


If you are willing and able to join this campaign, please let our office know about the activities on your campus so that we can include them as we promote our efforts to national media.  We can’t wait to raise the national voice of Catholic higher education on this issue that is central to humanity’s survival.

Please join us.  We look forward to working with you!