Care for Our Common Home Ministry

The Care for Our Common Home Ministry (CCH) at St. John Neumann Catholic Church in Reston, VA, promotes the vision of Laudato Si' in our parish and beyond.

Mission: The SJN Care for Our Common Home (CCH) Ministry, guided by a rich tradition of Catholic social teaching, works to bring to life the message of Pope Francis’s encyclical, Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home, in all relevant aspects of parish life, including worship, faith formation, social ministry, and facilities management. In response to the Church’s moral call for action, we seek to better understand the interconnectedness of all of God’s creation and act in solidarity with vulnerable populations around the world and for future generations. We will share Church teaching on care for creation, strive to reduce our carbon footprint as a parish, and provide resources and encouragement so that all parishioners can live in a more sustainable manner as faithful stewards of creation.

What’s in Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation on the Amazon synod?

"In the text known as 'Querida Amazonia' ('Beloved Amazonia,') [Pope Francis] pitches hard for justice for the region’s 33 million people, of whom 2.5 are indigenous peoples, and for the protection of their lives, their cultures, their lands, the Amazon river and rainforests, against the 'crime and injustice' being perpetrated in the region by powerful economic interests, both national and international, that risk destroying the people and the environment." In a highly significant move, Francis “officially” presents the synod’s final document, which includes the synod’s hot-button issues, to the Catholic Church worldwide.

Bishop McElroy on voting with faith and a conscience

Bishop McElroy writes, "Against the backdrop of these two monumental threats to human life, how can one evaluate the competing claims that either abortion or climate change should be uniquely preeminent in Catholic social teaching regarding the formation of Americans as citizens and believers? Four points should be considered." In Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis points powerfully to the vocation of faith-filled citizenship: An authentic faith … always involves a deep desire to change the world, to transmit values, to lea...

We may avoid the very worst climate scenario. But the next-worst is still pretty awful.

"[S]ome climate scientists and energy experts say the worst-case scenario is increasingly unlikely. That’s stirred debate within the research community over whether a rare bit of good news about global warming has emerged or if, instead, the situation is far more complicated and still quite dire." The "business as usual" climate change scenario may be too pessimistic, some scientists say, sparking a debate in the climate science community.

At this rate, it’s going to take nearly 400 years to transform the energy system

This article is a couple of years old but still timely and important: "It’s not that we aren’t building clean energy fast enough to address the challenge of climate change. It’s that—even after decades of warnings, policy debates, and clean-energy campaigns—the world has barely even begun to confront the problem." Here are the real reasons we’re not building clean energy anywhere near fast enough.

2019 capped world’s hottest decade in recorded history

Good summary of where we are with respect to climate change, as global greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise. “What happens in the future depends a lot on our emissions of greenhouse gases as a society. If we continue emitting at current levels, we will continue warming at about the same rate." It also marked the second-warmest year ever. “What happens in the future is really up to us," said one scientist.

The 2010s were a lost decade for climate. We can’t afford a repeat, scientists warn.

"The 2010s were a 'decade of disappointment,' said [Kallan] Benson, now 15 and a national coordinator for the youth climate organization Fridays for Future. If the world is to stave off further disasters, the next decade must be one of unprecedented climate action, she said." By the final year of the decade, the planet had surpassed its 2010 temperature record five times.

U.N. climate talks end with hard feelings, few results and new doubts about global unity

Climate talks in Madrid ended Sunday with no real progress. Meanwhile, "[a] federal assessment on Tuesday found that the Arctic might already have crossed a key threshold and could become a contributor to global carbon emissions as huge amounts of permafrost thaw." Delegates from nearly 200 nations wrestled for more than 40 hours past their planned deadline.

Americans broadly accept climate science, but many are fuzzy on the details

“We don’t have to understand all the nuances of the science. We just have to understand it’s real, it’s us, it’s serious and there are solutions.” They get the big picture right, but some are confused about plastics, the sun and volcanoes.

Climate Tipping Points Are Closer Than We Think, Scientists Warn

"What we're talking about is a point of no return, when we might actually lose control of this system, and there is a significant risk that we're going to do this." From melting ice caps to dying forests and thawing permafrost, the risk of ‘abrupt and irreversible changes’ is much higher than thought just a few years ago.

In bleak report, U.N. says drastic action is only way to avoid worst effects of climate change

"Global emissions have risen about 1.5 percent annually on average over the past decade. In the coming decade, that trend must reverse — profoundly and rapidly — if world leaders are to limit the Earth’s warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) or even 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) compared with preindustrial levels, scientists say." Smoke rises from chimneys of the gas boiler houses as the temperature dropped to minus-7 Celsius in Moscow this month. (Maxim Shipenkov/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock) By Brady Dennis Brady DennisReporter focusing on environmental policy and public health issuesEmailBioFollowNovember 26, 2019 at 3:00 AM ESTTh...

Here's a chart from the article just posted illustrating the key findings for projected fossil fuel production (top line) versus where it needs to be (bottom line).

Soaring Fossil Fuel Production Is On Track To Blow Past Climate Goals, New Study Finds

"The report said supply-side restrictions, including production bans in countries like France and New Zealand, offer a model of how to quickly scale down new extraction. Eliminating century-old subsidy programs for fossil fuels could make a considerable dent in production." Planned oil, gas and coal drilling is enough to exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming by 120%.

Climate crisis: 11,000 scientists warn of ‘untold suffering’

"There is no time to lose, the scientists say: 'The climate crisis has arrived and is accelerating faster than most scientists expected. It is more severe than anticipated, threatening natural ecosystems and the fate of humanity.'" Statement sets out ‘vital signs’ as indicators of magnitude of the climate emergency

Message of the Holy Father for the celebration of the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation (1 September 2019) | Francis

Challenging and inspiring message from Pope Francis for the start of the Season of Creation, September 1 to October 4. "Each Christian man and woman, every member of the human family, can act as a thin yet unique and indispensable thread in weaving a network of life that embraces everyone." Message of the Holy Father for the celebration of the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, 1 September 2019

Deathwatch for the Amazon

"Brazilians . . . have been blessed with a unique planetary patrimony, whose value is intrinsic and life-sustaining as much as it is commercial. Letting it perish would be a needless catastrophe." Brazil has the power to save Earth’s greatest forest—or destroy it

Changing climate imperils global food and water supplies, new U.N. study finds

“We have a choice: do we balance the needs of human development and nature, or do we sleepwalk into a future of failing farmlands, eroding soil, collapsing ecosystems and dwindling food resources?” The world cannot avoid the worst impacts of climate change without overhauling the ways we grow food, raise livestock and manage forests, a major new study says.

Trump EPA finalizes rollback of key Obama climate rule that targeted coal plants

"Despite a drumbeat of scientific warnings, the Trump administration Wednesday issued a new rule that cuts carbon emissions from power plants by less than half of what experts say is needed to avoid catastrophic global warming." The energy sector is already on track to far exceed the rule’s carbon reduction goal of 35 percent by 2035.

Beef Rules

Good article on the environmental effects of beef production and consumption--what's bad, what's less bad, and what may potentially be good in different ways of raising cattle. It’s easy to get confused about beef these days, especially when it comes to the environment. Some environmentalists say we should avoid…

Bicycles breeze through US as cyclist numbers rise, bike lanes expand

Zero emissions transportation! In case you weren't keeping up with realities that matter, or were stressed dealing with ones that don't, May was National Bike Month. It's notable that we have no National SUV Month or No National Bi...

To Participants at the meeting promoted by the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development on the theme: The Energy Transition and Care for our Common Home (14 June 2019) | Francis

Short, powerful address by Pope Francis, reiterating the need for urgent, effective action to address the climate crisis: To Participants at the meeting promoted by the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development and Notre Dame University-Mendoza College of Business on the theme:: The Energy Transition & Care for our Common Home (June 13-14, 2019, Casina Pio IV, Vatican City), 14 June 2019

The Three Most Important Graphs in Climate Change

"[C]limate change is not just an energy problem; it’s about 62% an energy problem — food & land use are also crucially important — and so are leaking natural gas pipelines, landfills, cement, and refrigerant gasses. . . . So, in the end, we need to look for solutions in many different areas, not just eliminating fossil fuels, although that is still crucially important." There’s a lot of confusion about climate change out there, especially when it comes to finding the most viable solutions to address it…

You can't save the climate by going vegan. Corporate polluters must be held accountable.

This is so important: "[A] fixation on voluntary action alone . . . plays into the hands of polluting interests by distracting us from the systemic changes that are needed. There is no way to avert the climate crisis without keeping most of our coal, oil and gas in the ground, plain and simple." Many individual actions to slow climate change are worth taking. But they distract from the systemic changes that are needed to avert this crisis.

Faith-based environmentalists see hope in Green New Deal goals As debate around the Green New Deal continues, count more and more Catholics and religious leaders among those taking a closer look at the ambitious blueprint to address climate change. Despite an ea...

Study: U.S. Fossil Fuel Subsidies Exceed Pentagon Spending

"The human, environmental and economic toll of these subsidies is shocking to the conscience. The authors found that if fossil fuels had been fairly priced in 2015, global carbon emissions would have been slashed by 28 percent. Deaths from fossil fuel-linked air pollution would have dropped by nearly half." Fossil fuel subsidies cost Americans billions more than the U.S. government spends on defense, according to the International Monetary Fund.

How To Talk About Climate Change So People Will Listen

"As challenging, as stressful and as painful as it might be, fixing climate change begins by actually talking about it. And over the years, I found a way to do so that’s actually constructive. It begins with why climate change matters to us." As a climate scientist, I’ve been called everything from a charlatan to the handmaiden of the Antichrist. Here’s how I handle the tough conversations.

These Countries Have Prices on Carbon. Are They Working?

"[I]n practice, most countries have found it politically difficult to set prices that are high enough to spur truly deep reductions." More than 40 governments have adopted a price on carbon, but many of the programs are still too weak to drive truly deep cuts in emissions.

Would Pope Francis back the Green New Deal?

According to Creighton University theologian Richard Miller, the Green New Deal sets up principles that are in line with what Francis says are necessary to address both environmental and social problems. "It reflects what Francis is up to." "Everything is connected." With those words, Pope Francis began Paragraph 91 of his landmark encyclical "Laudato Si', on Care for Our Common Home." He continued: "Concern for the environment thus ne...

Oil Producers Are Burning Enough 'Waste' Gas to Power Every Home in Texas

Here's a dramatic example of the wasting of energy described in the previous article. The solution is not more pipelines (as the article suggests) but shifting away from natural gas and other fossil fuels. America’s hottest oil patch is producing so much natural gas that by the end of last year producers were burning off more than enough of the fuel to meet residential demand across the whole of Texas. The phenomenon has likely only intensified since then.

U.S. energy use rises to highest level ever

Fascinating chart showing energy use in the U.S. last year. Note that over two-thirds of the energy produced was wasted, mostly in the form of wasted heat. "That’s why efficiency is by far the best way to address our energy and related climate challenges, followed by using renewables," according to Dr. Jonathan Foley of Project Drawdown. Americans used more energy in 2018 than in any other year, according to the most recent energy flow charts released by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL).

Earth's Glaciers Melting Much Faster Than Previously Thought: Study

This article highlights the significant impact glacier melting is having on sea level rise. It also threatens millions of people with the loss of water needed for drinking and irrigation. Glacier melt is accelerating due to global warming, and adding more water to already rising seas, the study found.

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11900 Lawyers Rd
Reston, VA
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St. John Neumann Catholic Community - Reston, Va St. John Neumann Catholic Community - Reston, Va
11900 Lawyers Rd
Reston, 20191

We, the faithful of SJN, commit ourselves to celebrating & giving witness to the presence of God in our midst by living the Gospel to its fullest.

St. Thomas à Becket Catholic Church St. Thomas à Becket Catholic Church
1421 Wiehle Ave
Reston, 20190

St. Thomas à Becket is a Roman Catholic community. We believe in Jesus Christ and His One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.