Westport Eco-Congregation

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation:

“For human beings… to destroy the biological diversity of God’s creation; for human beings to degrade the integrity of the earth by causing changes in its climate, by stripping the earth of its natural forests or destroying its wetlands; for human beings to contaminate the earth’s waters, its land, its air, and its life – these are sins”.[15 Laudato Si]

The climate and nature crisis can feel overwhelming, and it might seem difficult to know if progress is being made. But it is. We’ve seen some signs of nature recovering, ambitious new pledges made by our leaders and moments worth celebrating.  

We still have a long way to go and action needs to happen much faster, but we have reasons for hope. More people than ever before – people like you – are fighting to protect and restore our one shared home. 

Together we can create a better future. 

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation:

What if getting our relationship right with the Earth and all its creatures is not the scenic backdrop of some circus sideshow but as crucial as getting our relations right with our Creator, our family, and our neighbours? What if all of Creation is the most palpable expression of our Creator’s generosity, sense of wonder, and commitment to diversity? What happens if we begin to include the fungi, the flowers, the fritillary butterflies, and the flocks of wild geese as our neighbours, our family, and our Creator’s expressive face?  

It is true: whenever any of us feels gratitude for all of Earth’s creatures, we have become fully Present, fully alive ourselves.  

That may be what Saint Francis of Assisi meant when he urged us to “go out and preach the Good News and only when necessary use words.”                (Gary Paul Nabhan)

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation:

The first week of July was a ‘good news’ week as 35 faith institutions divested from the fossil fuel industry. This included some Irish announcements: The Archdiocese of Armagh, the Methodist Church in Ireland, the Congregational Leadership of the Sisters of Mercy, the Christian Brothers Northern Province, the Rosminians’ Institute of Charity, and the Carmelites’ Delganey Monastery.    (In joining this divestment announcement, the Methodist Church in Ireland joins the three largest Churches in Ireland – the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference, the Presbyterian Church in Ireland and the Church of Ireland – in divesting from fossil fuels.)

The full press release included a strong statement from Archbishop Eamon Martin who said: “From a faith point of view, God is calling us to be caring stewards of creation, to protect and nourish our planet and its resources, and not to selfishly waste them or ruthlessly and excessively exploit and destroy them”.  Commenting on the announcement, Jane Mellett, Laudato Si’ Officer for Trócaire, said “Fossil fuel companies are driving the climate crisis, which is having a devastating effect on the most vulnerable people in our world and endangering all life on this planet. By divesting from the fossil fuel industry, Church institutions are taking a practical step to ensure a more sustainable future for all. It is the right thing to do and it answers Pope Francis’s call in Laudato Si’ for “Fossil fuels…to be progressively replaced without delay”.’ 

  

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation:

On 2 March 2022, the United Nations Environment Assembly agreed to create a historic global treaty to end plastic pollution in a landmark agreement.

Public concern about the increasing plastic waste and pollution crisis has grown over the last decade. In 2021 an estimated 140 million people from 190 countries took part in Plastic Free July, choosing to refuse single-use plastic. Globally, participants reduced 300 million kgs of plastic consumption.

So why a plastics treaty? Plastic pollution doesn’t care about borders. So individual citizens, companies, and countries can’t solve it on their own. Whilst many companies have taken important voluntary steps, and laid the foundations for wide-reaching cooperation, global rules and obligations are needed.

For the first time, governments from UN member states have committed to address the whole life cycle of plastic – from plastic production and transport, to manufacture, consumption and disposal – with the goal of ending plastic pollution. 

What you can do

  • Be part of the solution and join millions of people worldwide taking the Plastic Free July challenge

  • Follow us on social media where we share plastic free solutions and stories that help people reduce plastic waste everyday at home, work, school, and out in the community

  • Continue to voice your support of business and government plans to #EndPlasticPollution

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation:

Our planet is in grave peril largely due to greed, overconsumption, and reckless exploitation. Climate-induced water problems are decreasing access to clean water. Already 663 million people lack access to clean water - that is 1 in every 10 people.

“Even as the quality of available water is constantly diminishing, in some places there is a growing tendency despite its scarcity to privatize this resource, turning it into a commodity subject to the laws of the market.  Yet access to safe drinkable water is a basic and universal human right since it is essential to human survival, and as such is a condition for the exercise of other human rights.”  Pope Francis Laudato Si #30

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation:

World Ocean Day – June 8th 2022

The proliferation of plastic products in the last several decades has been extraordinary. Quite simply, humans are addicted to this nearly indestructible material. We are producing over 380 million tons of plastic every year, and some reports indicate that up to 50% of that is for single-use purposes – utilized for just a few moments, but on the planet for at least several hundred years. It’s estimated that more than 10 million tons of plastic is dumped into our oceans every year.

The Ellen McArthur foundation predict that by 2050 there will be more plastic in our oceans than fish.  Now more than ever, each of us need to challenge our habits – are we buying things in single use plastic?  How can I change my shopping habits?  Do I use a reusable drinking bottle; do I refill my plastic bottles where possible?

 In honour of World Ocean Day, An Taisce will be giving away clean-up kits - containing bags, gloves, hi-viz vests etc - for communities, groups and individuals to organise beach clean-ups as well as on-land clean-ups nationwide. Please join them if possible, in taking action to protect the ocean by targeting Marine Litter at the source before it enters the sea.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation:

 National Food Waste Recycling Week which runs from the 30th May until the 6th June 2022 is a new national campaign from MyWaste.ie to encourage people to recycle their food waste.

A previous study by the Environmental Protection Agency found that approximately 50% of household organic waste was being disposed of in the wrong bins. By segregating food waste correctly, it can be transformed into renewable energy and bio-fertilisers for horticulture and agricultural use.                                                                                                                            Check out MyWaste.ie for further details. 

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation:

National bike week is 14-21 May.  The concept of Bike Week is "everyday cycling for everyone" and aims to encourage those who wouldn't normally cycle to get on their bikes. Any outing on a bike counts – whether that's nipping round to a friend's house, cycling to work or school, enjoying a leisurely ride with the family or tackling a cycling challenge.

Why is cycling good for the environment?

Switching to walking or cycling for more of our shorter journeys helps to protect biodiversity. It creates less noise, less air pollution, and results in fewer emissions that are warming the atmosphere. We can help to protect our green spaces by showing its importance to communities, and to plant and wildlife.

Cycling is also benefiting our health- Regular cycling stimulates and improves your heart, lungs and circulation, reducing your risk of cardiovascular diseases. Cycling strengthens your heart muscles, lowers resting pulse and reduces blood fat levels. - so this bike week why not get your bike out of the shed? You

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation:

Care of Creation

As more and more of us are, and will be spending time on our beaches this summer, walking, picnicking, or swimming, it is a timely reminder that not only does litter spoil the beauty of our beaches, but it has a more serious impact on marine life and their habitats. #2MinuteBeachClean encourages everyone to join the growing number of people, reducing marine litter 2 minutes at a time.  Each and every piece of marine litter and plastic removed from the beach matters and helps keep our coasts clean.

Marine litter is a cross-border problem as once it enters the sea, it has no owner and its management needs good regional and international collaboration. Initiatives like the #2MinuteBeachClean and the Clean Coasts programme are ways you can help - as every piece of litter removed from the marine environment is a piece of litter that won’t pollute our oceans or be ingested by marine life.

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation:

Sustainable Gardening

To follow on from last week’s advice on sustainable gardening, here are a few more tips and suggestions that are easy to implement but will impact your garden and your efforts to garden sustainably.  Use peat-free compost - When we take peat for our gardens, carbon is released, and habitats are damaged. Keeping peat in bogs – not bags – is a crucial part of the fight against climate change. Our planet's billions of acres of peat hold more carbon than all the world’s forests combined. Collect rainwater – waterless – we only need to water pots – plants in the soil rarely need watering once established.  Consider not mowing part of your grass – let the wildflowers grow!  We are all very keen to have a manicured lawn – but think of the insects that are attracted to wildflowers.  Make your own compost – compost should contain weeds, vegetable and fruit waste, eggshell and a bit of loose paper – no cooked food as that attracts rodents.  Once the compost has rotted down it can be put around plants.  Grow some veg for your family – there is nothing nicer than picking some lettuce or beetroot from your own garden – start small and watch the success!

Sustainable Gardening means gardening in a smart and eco-friendly way. It's all about giving back to Mother Nature by using organic growing methods so you use fewer chemicals and adopt greener alternatives when you're gardening. Food produced in a sustainable garden is rich in terms of both nutrients and taste!

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation:

Earth Day is an annual event, celebrated on April 22nd, on which day events worldwide are held to demonstrate support for environmental protection. Earth Day provides an opportunity for environmental issues to claim the global spotlight, just for a moment. More than a billion people from approximately 192 countries participate in environmental campaigns every year at this time.

10 Earth Day Activities and Ideas for all of us

Go on a beach clean-up,                                                                         

 Plant a tree;                                                                                                       

Use wildflowers and native plants                                                                                          

Buy a bag for life;                                                                                                                                                

Walk or ride a bike;                                                                                                                         

Shop at a local farmer’s market.                                                                                               

Support our pollinators.                                                                                                                           

Clean up plastic in our local neighbourhood.                                                                             

Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle in the garden                                                                          

Stop pesticides and chemicals in your garden

And Just a reminder, Earth Day is not just for One Day – everyday is Earth Day.

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation:

National Tree week took place this year March 20th –26th 2022. The theme was More forests for a Greener future. Recently I saw on TV that there is a new Irish Enterprise called ‘Reforest Nation’ which aims to restore Native Irish Woodlands by planting a diverse range of certified Irish trees. The aim is to plant one million native trees in Ireland by 2024.  By rewilding our forests Biodiversity can be promoted and many of our plant and animal species can be protected. For every tree planted here, one more is planted in areas severely affected by Climate change like Africa, Asia, and Central America……that is good news.

You may be aware of tree planting taking place in your own area. Why not give a helping hand? This year Coillte will donate 30,000 Native tree saplings – oak, birch and rowan. You may be lucky to receive one to plant in your garden or gift a tree for a special occasion.  In this way we are contributing to a healthy planet by planting trees and it is also a positive gift to the future.

There are a number of Irish websites you can visit: hometree.ie; reforestnation.ie; catchmycarbon.ie  

 Happy planting!

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation:

Amidst the backdrop of challenging times, Earth Hour - with your support - provided a moment of solidarity, of unity, and a reminder that we must work together to look after each other and the one home we all share.

Westport Eco Congregation would like to thank everyone who helped with Earth Hour 2022.  Mayo County Council delivered our Earth-Hour clock to the Town Hall Theatre Westport, where it was displayed for the weekend.                                                                                                                                          

Many thanks to the musicians from Liscarney, who entertained the public at the Earth Hour Event. Eco congregation thank St Marys and Holy Trinity Churches for their on-going support of our work of “Caring for our Common home” and raising awareness about the reality of Climate Change.

Our group continue to highlight the issue of single use plastic bottles and once again we want to invite and encourage the public to be part of this campaign by using reusable drink bottles.

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation:

Another Tip for Lent

Every year thousands of pairs of specs could be flown to developing countries. Many of us have old pairs of glasses lying around unused, yet 200 million people around the world need glasses every year.  People who can’t see properly cannot do their jobs, and children who can’t see properly can’t learn at school, so don’t bin your specs, recycle them.

Most opticians have a recycling box for the donation of used spectacles.  For example, Specsavers, Vision Express, and Boots Optician: Holy Trinity welcome specs for recycling as does Westport Lions Club who have a recycling box in country GUIDANCE markets to deposit them. 

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation:

What can you do about the issues facing Earth today? Here are some of the practices that will help you reduce your overall impact. 

 

  • Consume less overall: commit to buying fewer things and trying to make your belongings last. 

  • Declutter: find new homes for the items you don’t use. 

  • Compost: set up a composting bin or drop your organic waste off to be composted. 

  • Invest in renewable resources:  Spend more time walking, biking or using public transportation when you can. 

  • Avoid single-use items: e.g. participate in the campaign to rid Westport and our County of plastic bottles. 

  • Buy mindfully: support sustainable and environmentally conscious businesses 

  • Get informed and vote: support green initiatives, especially those concerning waste disposal and renewable energy.

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation:

In a pastoral letter for the Season of Creation 2021 Archbishop Dermot Farrell makes the following urgent call -

 

https://dublindiocese.ie/wpcontent/uploads/2021/08/Archbishop-Farrell-Pastoral-Letter-The-Cry-of-the-Earth.pdf

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation:

In a pastoral letter for the Season of Creation 2021 Archbishop Dermot Farrell makes the following urgent call -

“I ask you to join with me in reflecting on the threat, posed by the climate crisis, to the existence of our world as we know it. More than that, I ask you to join with me in wondering what people of faith and communities of faith – the people and parishes of the Archdiocese of Dublin – might do to mitigate this disaster. I ask you to join with me in reading our world – the ‘Book of Nature’, as the ancients called it.                                                                           

Alongside the Book of Nature, I also ask you to join me in reading the Scriptures, the Word of God – the other great book of our faith – in a quest for insight, inspiration and strength so as to live in a new way on this earth, our common home. Nothing less is called for. The earth cries out to us. And God, the Lord of Life, calls us to embrace a new culture: a culture of care – for the earth and for each other, especially the poor, the invisible and those left behind”   

https://dublindiocese.ie/wpcontent/uploads/2021/08/Archbishop-Farrell-Pastoral-Letter-The-Cry-of-the-Earth.pdf

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation:

No matter how small or insignificant your actions may seem, they matter. 

  1. A TV on standby is still using a lot of electricity. Switching that little ‘standby’ light from green to red doesn’t actually do you, or the planet, much good – it is still costing you money & wasting energy 

  2. Save the world while brushing your teeth!

Most people leave the tap running whilst brushing their teeth. This wastes up to 9 litres of water a minute or 26,000 litres of water per family, per year.

Awareness is the first step.  Aware of what we are doing, how we dispose of the waste that we are responsible for accumulating, aware of how much we buy and what we buy.  These are political decisions we make every day.  The consumer holds huge power for change

 

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation:

The global message of the encyclical Laudato si' continues to have a profound impact around the world, calling on everyone to be caretakers of our common home through a dialogue that involves all people. Released six years ago, the encyclical has generated discussion and concrete action from people of all faiths and none throughout the world.

The momentum generated has given rise to surprising initiatives creating dialogue over our planet, the role of humanity, and promoting awareness over the need to respect ecosystems and biodiversity. A selection of these reflections and feedback from individuals and communities are brought together in the book “Laudato si' Reader. An Alliance of Care for Our Common Home" The book shares reflections in a short collective format as a testament of how the Holy Father’s ideas have been disseminated advocated and practiced in various settings. The authors are a mixture of academics and practitioners, scientists and youth, organisations and economists, farmers and indigenous peoples, parents and politicians, Christians and interreligious communities.

The printed format will be available from Liberia Editrice Vaticana at www.libreriaeditricevaticana.va

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation:

Having a sense that everything is finite and limited is so important. Appreciating this transforms how we engage with Creation and all living beings. This is at the heart of the ecological conversion that Pope Francis speaks so much about in Laudato Si. It is also at the heart of the campaign that Westport Eco Congregation is engaged with at the present time and during the coming months – to eradicate single use plastic bottles from our town and county. We are delighted to report that many sports clubs and schools are collaborating with us, in this endeavour. We invite you to become an active participant, by choosing not to buy plastic bottles - surely a timely suggestion as one of your New Year resolutions!                                                                                     

Embracing small actions can have a ripple effect across our different communities. In the words of Pope Francis, ‘Everyone’s talents and involvement are needed so that ‘all of us can cooperate as instruments of God for the care of creation’

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation:

“We must return to the spiritual values that are the foundation of life. We must love and respect all living things, have compassion for the poor and the sick, respect and understanding for women and female life on this earth who bear the sacred gift of life” —

Indigenous delegates to the Global Forum on Environment, 1990

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation:

 “For the sake of younger generations and their future, we must choose to eat, travel, spend, invest and live differently, thinking not only of immediate interest and gains but also of future benefits," (Pope Francis and other Christian leaders in a recent message to the world in the context of Climate Change and Cop26)

Advent/Christmas offers us many opportunities to consider the choices we make.  For example: Gifts, and Wrapping:  If you do need to purchase gifts, shop local rather than on line. Whether made by yourself or a local artisan, handmade items will bring a simple, beautiful energy into your home.

When wrapping any gifts there is no need to use the rolls of wrapping paper or glossy, metallic and foil gift wrap. Instead, use newspaper or old posters. They look fabulous with red wool tied around them. In fact, it could become a family trend…Did you know?  that most wrapping paper is non recyclable?

You can avoid the waste by: swap tape for twine or washi tape: turn a potato crisp packet inside out: jazz up an old pillowcase or a scarf you don’t use: repurpose kids’ artwork or glam up some newspaper – Get Creative!

Westport Eco Congregation Care of Creation

TIPS FOR A GREENER CHRISTMAS – ECO CONGREGATION

As we continue our Advent journey, let us think about the impact that our choices and options are making on our planet: when buying gently let go of purchasing more “stuff” when possible. 

Make and do things: Ideas such as knitting hat or scarf, making Christmas food treats, or for skilled to such creations as yule logs and wreaths with local hedgerow greens, paint Christmas cards with children and make Christmas decorations with them with such items as popcorn or old paper. Pick sticks during walks for fires. Organise a pot luck dinner rather than eating out. For an older person living alone make a date to come and do tasks on their list in the home.

Consider Buying Locally - the positive impact of which is far reaching. Brid O’Connell, CEO of Guaranteed Irish says “For every €50 someone spends on an Irish product, it’s worth €250 to the economy in the local community: so not only does it make economic sense supporting local employment, it’s also got a lower carbon footprint and is sustainable.”                                                                                                        This year, the organisation has set up an online portal called guaranteedirishgifts.ie to make things easier for consumers to find Irish items. their main goal is to provide inspiration and keep local communities alive.

Westport Eco Congregation Care of Creation

TIPS FOR A GREENER CHRISTMAS – ECO CONGREGATION

Before you start shopping for Christmas and purchasing more “stuff” consider your options or even perhaps think through what those you love really need.

Westport eco congregation have come up with some alternative ideas for this season of good will. 

  1. Be present: Take time to be with loved ones, sit with them, turn off or silence your phone and listen to them. If regulations allow arrange to meet a dear one for lunch or coffee or go for a walk with them. Ask how they are and what they need at this time of year.

  2. Instead of purchasing a gift be the gift: Perhaps someone you know may need a night off cooking and you could make a dinner for a busy mum or single parent. For busy parents who may need quality time away, consider arranging to baby sit or pick their child up from school; or you may know someone who is cash tight and paying a bill for them or getting them fuel/food voucher would bring great relief.

Westport Eco Congregation Care of Creation

Reducing carbon emissions in our town/county

Westport Eco Congregation are planning a campaign to reduce carbon emissions in our county.  Our hope is to eradicate single use plastic bottles from our town. Here is one practical and concrete action all of us can take in response to the many and varied calls from COP26 to reduce carbon emissions globally. We are confident that you, your family and friends will want to be part of this environmental campaign. We invite you to join us. Begin by refusing to buy plastic bottles; use refill bottles instead. We can do this together. Our individual choices and behaviour do matter greatly. Collaborating with sports’ clubs and schools will become part of this campaign.

Did you know that Ireland produces the equivalent of 2,000 water bottles per person annually?  We generate around 3 billion single use plastic bottles per year. 31% of this plastic ends up in landfill

We will keep you updated as we move forward with this campaign.

Westport Eco Congregation Care of Creation

In 8 days, the United Nations climate change summit, COP26, is set to begin in Glasgow, Scotland.

The two-week conference (Oct 31-Nov12) will be of crucial importance as it is expected to finalise the Paris Agreement.

 Beyond the negotiations, COP26 provides the opportunity for civil society, including faith-based organizations, to bring the voices of the most affected communities of climate change into the global debate on climate justice.                                                                                        

To meet this challenge everyone has a role to play - that of political and government leaders is especially important, and indeed crucial. We also need to be engaged with it, be informed about it and pray that all government leaders be given great wisdom, foresight and concern for the common good.  

Westport Eco Congregation Care of Creation

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation

To mark the recent presentation of the Gold Award to Westport Eco Congregation, two beautiful apple trees were planted on the green area - left of the slip road between Rice College and Knockranny.  Appreciation to Caitriona McCarthy (Edible Landscapes) who sourced this Heritage variety Apple tree called ‘Kilkenny Pearmain’ and for her helpful advice and support. We are very grateful to Ann Moore who on behalf of Mayo County Council gave permission to have the trees planted in this beautiful green area. The planting took place on Tuesday 5th of October at 2.30 p.m.  The sun shone gloriously as Pat Fahy (Westport Tidy Towns Biodiversity Officer) and members of Westport Eco Congregation dug the ground and planted the trees. We had great fun!  We are delighted that this event coincides with SPAR National Tree Day 2021 which takes place on Thursday, 7th October. The theme they have chosen for this year is ‘Trees are Good neighbours’ ‘Is comharsana den scoth iad crainn’  Trees are some of our greatest neighbours and are so vital to our environment and our planet.
Our AGM is on Monday 11th October at 7 p.m.  You are very welcome to attend.

 Email: westportecocongregation@gmail.com 

Chairperson: Rev. Canon Jennifer McWhirter - 085 877 8650          

Administration Officer: Caroline Goucher - 086 8745314       

PRO: Kathleen Friel - 087 8520602 

Westport Eco Congregation Care of Creation

Care of Creation

The AGM of Westport Eco Congregation is on Tuesday 12th October at 7 p.m.  You are very welcome to attend.

 If you wish to receive the zoom link for this meeting, please contact any of the following.

Email: westportecocongregation@gmail.com

Chairperson: Rev. Canon Jennifer McWhirter - 085 877 8650          

Administration Officer: Caroline Goucher - 086 8745314         

PRO: Kathleen Friel - 087 8520602 

The presentation of the Gold Award to Westport Eco Congregation (Holy Trinity and St. Mary’s parishes) will take place during the Harvest Festival celebration in Holy Trinity at 11.30 a.m. on this Sunday 3rd October.

 

You are warmly welcomed to attend.

Westport Eco Congregation Care of Creation

Season of Creation 1st September – 4th October

Eco Congregation Westport (Holy Trinity and St. Mary’s parishes) had the honour of being granted the Gold Award from Eco Congregation Ireland earlier this year.  The presentation of this award was postponed owing to Covid restrictions. We are now very happy to announce that this presentation to both St. Mary’s and Holy Trinity parishes, will take place in Holy Trinity church, during their upcoming Harvest Festival in October and just as the Season of Creation draws to a close. We are very grateful to Canon Jen McWhirter for facilitating and hosting this event on behalf of Westport Eco Congregation.

 “The Harvest Festival in Holy Trinity Parish Church will be held on Sunday 3rd October at 11.30am.  The preacher this year will be the newest recruit to our diocesan clergy team - The Revd. Martin Steele, who was ordained deacon on Sunday 12th September.  We’re throwing him in at the deep end!

Part of our celebration this year will be the presentation of the Westport Eco-Congregation Gold Award.  We are so proud of the Eco-Congregation committee who were granted this award by Eco-Congregation Ireland earlier this year.  This was the culmination of a lot of hard work and outstanding commitment to caring for our Common Home. We are delighted to be celebrating this achievement here in Holy Trinity during our Harvest Festival.

Anyone who wishes to attend this service will be most welcome.”                             

(Canon Jen McWhirter, rector of Holy Trinity)

 

A reminder to visit the Season of Creation Prayer Space at the back of the church during the month of September.

Westport Eco Congregation Care of Creation

A JOINT MESSAGE FOR THE PROTECTION OF CREATION

Pope Francis, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Anglican Archbishop Justin Welby, of Canterbury join together for the first time in urgent appeal for the future of the planet.

“As world leaders prepare to meet in November at Glasgow to deliberate on the future of our planet, we pray for them and consider what are the choices we must all make. Accordingly, as leaders of our Churches, we call on everyone, whatever their belief or worldview, to endeavour to listen to the cry of the earth and of people who are poor, examining their behaviour and pledging meaningful action/choices for the sake of the earth, and future generations…

……This is the first time that the three of us feel compelled to address together the urgency of environmental sustainability, its impact on persistent poverty, and the importance of global cooperation. All of us—whoever and wherever we are—can play a part in changing our collective response to the unprecedented threat of climate change and environmental degradation.

This is a critical moment. Our children’s future and the future of our common home depend on it.”

(The above is part of the joint appeal that was released by the Vatican on September 7 marking the Season of Creation)

Please visit the Care of Creation prayer space at the back of the church which will be in place during the Season of Creation.

Westport Eco Congregation Care of Creation

Season of Creation 1st September – 4th October

Pope Francis on Sunday last called on all people to take “decisive, urgent action” during the upcoming Season of Creation in order to “transform this crisis into an opportunity.”

During this Season of Creation Westport Eco Congregation invites you to consider how your daily routines impact Earth - our daily choices make a difference - here are some suggestions:

  • Carry your own reusable water bottle.

  • Avoid single use products such as plastic or Styrofoam cups, bottles, cutlery, straws.

  • Buy fair trade products that are ethically and sustainably sourced when possible.

  • If you can’t recycle it, don’t buy it.

  • Start composting, or sign up for a compost collection service in your area

  • Discuss and promote environmental issues with friends and family.

  • Calculate your carbon footprint using an online calculator https://www.footprintcalculator.org/

A prayer for our earth from ‘Laudato Si’ 

All-powerful God, you are present in the whole universe and in the smallest of your creatures.                                                                            You embrace with your tenderness all that exists.
Pour out upon us the power of your love, that we may protect life and beauty.                     

Fill us with peace, that we may live as brothers and sisters, harming no one.
O God of the poor, help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth, so precious in your eyes.
Bring healing to our lives, that we may protect the world and not prey on it, that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction.             Touch the hearts of those who look only for gain at the expense of the poor and the earth.                                                                         Teach us to discover the worth of each thing, to be filled with awe and contemplation,                                                                                         to recognize that we are profoundly united with every creature as we journey towards your infinite light.
We thank you for being with us each day.                                                                                       

Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle for justice, love and peace. 

Amen.

Westport Eco Congregation Care of Creation

We are fast approaching the Season of Creation which runs from September 1st (World Day of Prayer for Creation) to October 4th (the feast of St. Francis of Assisi). Amid numerous crises which have shaken our world, the theme chosen this year is “Restoring Our Common Home” During this season we are asked to join together to celebrate creation and protect our common home through prayer, reflection and action. Laudato Si’ calls faith communities to respond and reminds us that “All is not lost. Human beings… are capable of rising above themselves, choosing again what is good, and making a new start… [embarking] on new paths….” (LS, 205).                  

The forthcoming Season of Creation is a wonderful opportunity to do just that. We urge people to sign the “Healthy Planet Healthy People” petition as a key action for this Season of Creation. To do this please visit www.healthyplanetandpeople.org

Westport Eco Congregation Care of Creation

At the heart of the Laudato Si document written by Pope Francis in 2015 is the call to care for “Our Common Home” and to be keenly aware that everything in our world is connected. This is our starting and ending point.

Possible Actions: There is only a slight difference between the biochemical make-up of plant cells and animal cells. Anything that kills a plant could potentially kill an animal/human. If it kills an insect, it will kill a human if the dose is relative to our size. There is really no safe amount of weedkiller or pesticide.

The fight with Bayer/Monsanto is a high stakes battle, and conclusive proof that weedkiller is toxic/carcinogenic, is difficult. Big companies are capable of paying off jurors etc. and those who profit from using their chemicals continue to deny that they are harmful. Many food producers (including Irish) increase their profits by using weedkiller before planting and/or before harvesting.

Westport Eco Congregation Care of Creation

The Season of Creation 2021 runs from 1st September to 4th October.

Westport Eco Congregation Care of Creation

Recent events in the US have amplified for us the interconnectedness between all of us humans.  We cannot fail to be affected by the brutality suffered by our fellow humans.

It was this awareness that prompted one woman, Natalie Isaacs, an Australian to change her life completely.  Once she became aware of the connection between the hardship suffered by so many in the developing world, caused by Climate Change, she knew she had to do something.  She could not stand by.  She eventually set up 1Million women, encouraging women all over the developed world to change their way of life, to lower their carbon emissions, in support of women in poorer countries who are most affected by Climate Change. “If women and children of developing countries are the most vulnerable to climate change, then women from wealthy countries have so much to contribute to the solution through the way we live. This is about lifestyle”. (Natalie Isaacs)

 Today the membership of this movement, 1Million Women stands at 800,000!

What can EACH ONE of us do to show our solidarity with the people of our world who suffer the brutality of life caused by Climate Change every day.  Getting fired up when we hear of one horrendous cruelty is good, but how much better would it be if we held that fire for ACTION in any way possible to relieve the brutality of the Climate Crisis in poor countries.  To learn more about the POWER of ONE, as shown by Natalie Isaacs log into www.1millionwomen.com.au.

Here in Westport why not get involved with Westport Eco-Congregation or perhaps join the Book study group on Laudato Si to become more informed about Climate Change and its effects. 

For more information, ring Mary Manning at 087 2421330, Caroline Goucher at 0868745314, Kathleen Friel at 087 8520602 or email westportecocongregation @gmail.com.

Twitter: @WestEcoCong

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WestportEcoCongregation/

Youtube: Westport Eco-Congregation

Email: westportecocongregation@gmail.com 

ECO CONGREGATION

 

 Start with what is necessary, then do what is possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible”.

As we come out of the acute threat of COVID 19, we now have a once in a lifetime opportunity to create a world where both the economy and climate are dealt with in tandem. Trillions of dollars are now being pumped into countries, so let us pray and urge our leaders to make the courageous decisions that will see a better quality of life for all of us, including our future generations as global citizens.

What NECESSARY actions can we, as individuals take now?

  • Look at how we use our cars.  Can we walk or cycle instead of driving?

  • What food choices are we making?  Buying food grown as near as possible to where we live, reduces the carbon miles.

  • Can we reduce the amount of packaging on our purchases…bringing our own containers/bags for fruit/veg, meat/fish and many other items? 

  • Plastic bottles of water are a totally unnecessary scourge. There is a great variety of reusable bottles available and you are saving both your money and the planet at the same time, by buying one.

What can we do that is POSSIBLE?  Here is one suggestion…

  • We, at Westport Eco-Congregation are organising a study group on Laudato Si, with Jane Mellett the Laudato Si officer at Trocaire.  This will take place on Zoom and is free.  We invite anyone who is interested in becoming more involved in the Care of our Earth, to join us. 

  • For more information, ring Kathleen Friel at 087 8520602,  Caroline Goucher at 0868745314 or Mary Manning at 087 2421330 or email at westportecocongregation@gmail.com

Let’s take SMALL STEPS FOR BIG CHANGES and before long, we will be doing what we thought was IMPOSSIBLE.

The Westport Congregation has united since the publication of ‘Laudato si' (Italian for ‘Praise Be to You’) encyclical of Pope Francis, subtitled ‘On Care For Our Common Home’ in it, the Pope critiques consumerism and irresponsible development, laments environmental and global warming and calls all people of the world to take "swift and unified global action”.

In the Westport area our response to 'Care of Creation' is to gather to respond.

Our vision is to see local community churches adopt an eco-approach to worship, lifestyle, property, finance management, community outreach and contact with the developing world.

We aim to achieve the national Eco-Congregation Award in 2017. This will be the project lead while collaborating with other local groups in the area. We met once a month in Carrowbeg House, The Mall, Westport, County Mayo.

Our areas of interest are: Worship and Teaching, Children’s and Youth Work, Property and Grounds Management, Finance and Waste, Personal Lifestyles, Working with the Local Community and Thinking Globally.
Supporting members:
• Westport parishes (Fr.Charlie & Rev. Jen)
• Westport Tidy Towns
• Westport Smarter Travel
• Westport Mens Shed
• WESCo (Westport Environmental Sustainable Community)
• Westport Sustainability Group
• Edible Landscape
• West Mayo Municipal District office of Mayo Co Co

Check out our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/WestportEcoCongregation/

Westport Eco Congregation Care of Creation

COP26 came to a close late on Saturday Nov.13th. Its final document, the Glasgow Climate Pact, shows some signs of progress in the global effort to rapidly limit dangerous levels of warming, but not nearly enough, or fast enough. The conclusion is very disappointing. Our work is even more important now. The only way the leaders of the world will act with more urgency is if the public continue to pressurise them.

Some reactions to the climate deal agreed at the conclusion of COP26

"I think today we can say with credibility that we've kept 1.5 (degrees Celsius) within reach. But its pulse is weak, and we will only survive if we keep our promises. (...) History has been made here in Glasgow." COP26 President Alok Sharma

"COP26 has made some progress, but nowhere near enough to avoid climate disaster…. Leaders have extended by a year this window of opportunity to avert the worst of the climate crisis. The world urgently needs them to step up more decisively next year” Mary Robinson

"This package is not perfect…… but it is real progress and elements of the Glasgow Package are a lifeline for my country. We must not discount the crucial wins covered in this package” Marshall Islands Climate Envoy Tina Stege