Earth Hour Saturday 28 March 2020.

Earth Hour was begun in Sydney in 2007 and has spread as the largest world movement working for climate change. We turn off our lights 8.30-9.30 pm local time with millions of people around the world in 7,000 cities in 180 countries and territories as a pledge to help fight for our planet. The amount of electricity we save is not the main issue. It’s the statement that our action makes that matters, the conviction in our hearts that such an action makes visible.

Laudato si’ (LS) offers some motivation for the exercise. Pope Francis suggests:

Disinterested concern for others, and the rejection of every form of self-centredness and self-absorption, are essential if we truly wish to care for our brothers and sisters and for the natural environment. These attitudes also attune us to the moral imperative of assessing the impact of our every action and personal decisions on the world around us. LS 208

I wonder could we use the hour to reflect on our efforts to measure and reduce our personal carbon footprint. You can download a carbon calculator free. Does using my iPad negate turning off lights?

Or we could invite some friends over and use the hour to chat about our efforts to reduce-reuse-recycle, or the latest article or podcast on earth care or Pope Francis’ final chapter in Laudato si’ where he appeals to us to consider a covenant between humanity and the environment. LS Ch. 6, part 2. We could consider, as Francis suggests:

Our environmental responsibility (that) can encourage ways of acting … such as avoiding the use of plastic and paper, reducing water consumption, separating refuse, cooking only what can reasonably be consumed, showing care for other living beings, using public transport or car-pooling, planting trees, turning off unnecessary lights,  … All of these reflect a generous and worthy creativity which brings out the best in human beings LS 211

Francis continues:

If someone has not learned to stop and admire something beautiful, we should not be surprised if he or she treats everything as an object to be used and abused without scruple. LS 215

Maybe star gazing could help to fill the hour!

Francis suggests then that what we:

Need is an ‘ecological conversion’, whereby the effects of (our) encounter with Jesus Christ become evident in (our) relationship with the world around (us). Living our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork is essential to a life of virtue; it is not an optional or a secondary aspect of our Christian experience. LS 217 (highlighting mine)

The whole of Chapter 6 of Laudate Si makes beautiful and challenging reading to encourage us to participate in EARTH HOUR. Towards the end Pope Francis encourages us:

Let us sing as we go. May our struggles and our concern for this planet never take away the joy of our hope. LS 244

Let’s spend EARTH HOUR celebrating and perhaps singing of the joy of our hope with the millions of others who share our concern for our “common home”.

Let’s face the crises affecting people, other species and Earth itself at this time … 27th General Chapter of the Sisters of Saint Joseph
Frances Maguire rsj

Photo: Landscape photo of mountian with polar lights by Lucas Ettore Chiereguini obtained from Pexels. Used with permission.
Photo: Planet Earth close up by Pixabay obtained from Pexels. Used with permission.