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People of faith celebrate Earth Day

April 21, 2010:

The biggest ever faith-based live simulcast gathering of Christians on the environment comes together on the eve of the 40th Earth Day – drawing thousands of churches, mostly from the US but also as far afield as Uruguay, South Africa and the UK.

The simulcast takes place today, and has been organised by the Blessed Earth organisation. It will be hosted by the Northland megachurch in Orlando, Florida, which regularly has ten thousand people at its services.

This year’s Earth Day marks the 40th anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement when 20 million Americans took to the street on April 22, 1970, to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment.

This year, more than one billion people in 190 countries are expected to take part in Earth Day events ranging from tree plantings to large-scale light bulb switch-off campaigns, home energy efficiency retrofits, school greenings and water projects.

The simulcast will include video statements from Christian and secular leaders, films, music and a live questions and answers session from the audience and the web. For more information and to sign up your own congregation, visit Blessed Earth.

A Novena for Earth Day

The Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, through their New Jersey Mercy Justice Circle, have developed a Novena for Creation and encourage Catholics to pray and reflect for the days leading up to Earth Day. Their website offers this: “Together we proclaim: We, and all creation are God's earthen vessels. Help us, O Lord to live and act in harmony and interdependence with all creation.”

Visit the Sisters of Mercy website for the Novena.

The St Francis Pledge

On Earth Day last year, 24 US-based Catholic organisations helped launch the Catholic Climate Covenant: The St. Francis Pledge to Care for Creation and the Poor. Since then, thousands of Catholic individuals, families, schools, parishes and organisations have pledged to Pray, Learn, Assess, Act and Advocate as part of their commitment.

The US-based Catholic Climate Convenant is urging Catholics around the world to join in taking the St. Francis Pledge and to register their Pledges on its website: www.catholicclimatecovenant.org. With Earth Day falling on a Thursday this year, it is also encouraging parishes to integrate themes of stewardship and ecological awareness into their worship on either the Sunday before or after Earth Day.

Transforming the world

The Franciscan Action Network recently held a webinar to encourage youth groups and young adults to use Earth Day as an opportunity to "transform the world". The webinar shares models from Franciscan parishes on how they approach environmental stewardship in the spirit of St. Francis. To view the webinar, go to Franciscan Action. For Earth Day events, visit the Earth Day website.

A sustainable charter for Morocco

Morocco will announce an unprecedented National Charter for Environment and Sustainable Development on Earth Day, April 22 – the first commitment of its kind in Africa and the Arab World. The charter will guide policy in the country and future laws on natural resources, the environment and sustainability.

Environmental service

Environmental service is a cornerstone of annual Earth Day activities. The Earth Day Network, which organises the annual event, is this year mobilising the international community to encourage acts of environmental service in honour of the 40th anniversary.

At the core of this programme is the Billion Acts of Green initiative, an effort to collect environmental actions from individuals, corporations and governments to send a message to world leaders for urgent, meaningful change for the planet.

Global service activities have already begun, but a major series of service projects will be held the weekend before Earth Day. To date, more than 21 million Acts of Green have been pledged on the Earth Day Network website. For more information and for ideas and resources, visit www.earthday.net.

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