Atlanta— Archbishop Gregory J. Hartmayer, OFM Conv., Archbishop of Atlanta, has released the following statement of support for an expanded Laudato Si Action Plan:
Five years ago, a dedicated group of activists were inspired by Pope Francis’ Laudato Si,’ on Care for our Common Home. I am not sure they realized what kind of impact their action plan would make. This team of experts combined their knowledge of sustainability and Catholic Social Teaching to create the Archdiocese of Atlanta’s Laudato Si’ Action Plan.
Since then, members of the team have guided schools and parishes through the steps they could take to be more sustainable, support their communities and leave a better world for the generations to come. The work attracted attention from around the world. Supporters invested both time and money into strengthening and improving the plan. Ecumenical and civil partners joined the effort to expand the plan beyond the Catholic community. Dioceses across the nation have come to recognize this plan as a model they can use in their own communities. Even the Vatican is consulting this team as a Laudato Si’ plan takes shape there.
Some examples of actions taken by our communities: St. Mary’s School in Rome reduced its energy consumption by 50 percent in two years by making small changes such as changing light bulbs and conducting an energy audit. St. Catherine of Sienna Catholic Church in Kennesaw saved $16,500 in one year thanks to changes they made after their energy audit. Several parishes and schools are supporting local food banks with gardens on their property so they can support their vulnerable neighbors. Our Lady of the Assumption in Brookhaven mapped out a multi-year land-use plan with the environment in mind. As you can see, the efforts range from simple changes to huge projects. No undertaking is too small.
This fall, we observed the fifth anniversary of the release of the encyclical that inspired the action plan. The local team decided that after five years of work, they should look back at their success and consider ways to continue to move forward. The team has now released an updated plan that is the result of reflection, additional research, collaboration and prayer. I offer my heartfelt thanks to the authors of the plan as well as the parishes and schools who showed us that a little effort can make a huge difference.
I wholeheartedly support this plan update. The Archdiocese of Atlanta has committed additional money and resources to it, including my decision to include the plan as a beneficiary of the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal. I encourage each of you to consider how you can support the Laudato Si’ Action Plan. The team continues to welcome new volunteers as well as financial supporters. They would love to hear from you.