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New project to challenge Catholics to reduce carbon footprint, care more for environment

Peter Arndt

Environment campaign: Brisbane archdiocese’s Catholic Justice and Peace Commission executive officer Peter Arndt at a Stop Adani protest outside the Commonwealth Bank in Brisbane late last year. Photo: Mark Bowling

A PROJECT aimed at healing, protecting and caring for our common home is to be introduced in parishes and Catholic agencies across Brisbane archdiocese.

Called Living Laudato Si’, the project will draw on Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical – Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home – and will challenge Catholics to make practical changes to the environment around them.

“We want people to really understand the breadth and depth of what Pope Francis was saying (in Laudato Si’) and to embrace the notion of ‘ecological conversion’, as Pope St John Paul II called it,” Brisbane archdiocese’s Catholic Justice and Peace Commission executive officer Peter Arndt said.

“It will include challenges to people to make practical changes – reducing their carbon footprint, reducing our waste, caring for the natural environment – and maybe supporting poorer people who are facing the challenges of environmental damage like climate change.

“We are seeing Queenslanders in the Torres Strait, as well as people in the Pacific, who are facing serious problems because of climate change.”

Mr Arndt is a member of a newly formed Living with Laudato Si’ steering committee, headed by Auxiliary Bishop Ken Howell, which is considering how Catholics could get involved.

“We really expect to dive into the six chapters of Laudato Si’ one at a time …  then we’ll start to look how we can roll it out in parishes, schools and agencies in the second half of 2018 and beyond,” he said.

“We are not starting from zero. There’s a lot of action already being taken, so in many cases we’ll be building on what is already there.”

The former director of Catholic EarthCare Australia Jacqui Remond will work as a facilitator on the project.

Mr Arndt ranks environmental protection as a crucial issue for Brisbane’s Justice and Peace Commission.

He spoke at a #Stop Adani anti-coal mining rally outside Queensland Parliament House on February 13, at which he advocated for alternatives to burning fossil fuels to reduce global warming.

“My speech was to address the concerns around employment and to say that one of the ways we can address the issues of concern to people in central and north Queensland is to build on the good work developing large-scale clean, renewable energy projects,” Mr Arndt said.

“Queensland is now the leading state with twenty large-scale projects in operation and more than five thousand full-time jobs – so that is quite a significant number directly employed there.”

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