What You Can Do

Each person, family and community has the power to safeguard the environment and live more sustainably by making changes in their daily life.

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Individuals / Families

They can follow the 6 “Rs”

  • Rethink 
  • refuse
  • reduce
  • reuse 
  • recycle
  • replace

Additional steps:

  • Support local, organic sustainable agriculture
  • Reduce greenhouse gases
  • Plant native trees and plants
  • Plant community vegetable and fruit gardens
  • Use eco-friendly disposable products
  • Install solar panels
  • Use less water
  • Upgrade irrigation system, and plant drought-tolerant landscaping 
  • Be energy efficient
  • Reduce use of heating and air conditioning
  • Contact government representatives and take action to address climate change, pollution, and environmental justice

Pledge to make an impact

I/we can make these changes in my life / my family’s life:                             

Increase efficiency: Turn lights off or don’t turn on if there is natural lighting. Replace inefficient light bulbs with LED or other efficient lighting. Consider insulation, more efficient windows or other home improvements. Conserve water.

Eat wisely: Buy organic and locally grown foods. Grow some of your own food. Home cook more meals. Eat low on the food chain – at least one meat-free meal a day – since 18% of greenhouse gas emissions come from meat and dairy production. Food writer Michael Pollan sums it up best: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” Use less chemical fertilizers or sprays.

Travel wisely: Ride your bike to local destinations, take public transit where possible, work from home, carpool, try a “staycation,” fly less. Buy an electric or hybrid car.

Reduce waste: Use washable dishes. Use a home filter instead of bottled water. Reduce food waste. Choose products with less packaging. Recycle paper, plastics, bottles and aluminum cans.  Buy only what I need: food, clothing, furniture, technology etc. Get rid of Styrofoam, and use less plastic.

Conserve water by taking shorter showers, planting a “desert” garden, or using artificial turf.

Go renewable: Consider rooftop solar, solar hot water, or other renewable choices.

Talk to friends, colleagues and family about what you are doing to pollute less and be sustainable.

School / Parish / Community

You can join with others in your school, parish or community to advocate for or make one or more of changes:
Educate congregation and community members: Which areas do you want to go deeper? Refer people to an appropriate speaker or guest preacher. Teach school students of the need to conserve energy and natural resources.

Use prayer as a sacred moment to reflect on the oneness of creation: water, earth and sun. Form an ecological spirituality: We are one family in a common home. Ask parishioners to sign the St Francis Pledge.

Increase efficiency: Inventory energy use and explore opportunities for efficiency, such as installing efficient lighting, insulation, windows, and low-flush toilets.

Go renewable: Encourage the installation of a rooftop solar system for your facility. Implement “Repair, Reuse or Recycle” practices.

Encourage low-carbon snacks and meals; eat less red meat and fried food, and more fruit and vegetables.

Organize carpools for community meetings and activities and include transit information in directions for events.

Organize workshops or a study group on “Laudato Si’” and a Creation Care Team in the parish, school or community.

Meet or correspond with people from other schools, or communities to learn and share activities that protect the environment and creation.

Join or fund a local community group working on climate change and sustainability.


The following are among some of the actions that you can take as a community to protect creation and the environment, upholding the principles of Laudato Si’.

Ask other members of your Creation Care Team what activities they would like to organize or participate in, and then plan the event or group effort.

Recruit a new group of individuals who care about the environment, lead them in the “Basic Course for Laudato Si’” and form a new Creation Care Team.

Write an item or article for publication in your parish bulletin on a subject that advances protection of the environment.

Make telephone calls or send emails to local representatives regarding the declaration of an “environmental emergency” to lower fossil fuel emissions or organize a “phone bank” or email campaign to do the same.

Plan a walk or march with posters promoting sustainable practices.

Visit as a group a local school or another church to encourage them to study and act to protect creation and our environment.

Plan a field trip to a conservatory or wetlands or walk along a nature trail, and learn what is being done to protect that natural resource.


Carbon Footprint Calculator, by the EPA

“Reduce your carbon footprint,” by the Catholic Health Association of the United States

10 ways you can make a difference, by Catholic Climate Covenant


Robert Ehnow, PhD
Director, Office for Life, Peace & Justice
Phone: (858) 490-8375
rehnowEmail at symbolsdcatholic.org
Maria de Lourdes Valencia
Associate Director, Culture of Life
Phone: (858) 490-8323
mvalenciaEmail at symbolsdcatholic.org
Christina Slentz, PhD
Associate Director, Creation Care
Phone: (858) 490-8327
cslentzEmail at symbolsdcatholic.org
Rev. Emmet Farrell
Spiritual Advisor, Creation Care
Phone: (619) 419-8345
efarrellEmail at symbolsdcatholic.org