To mark the International Day for Biological Diversity on 22 May as well as Laudato Si’ Week, we ran a two-week biodiversity awareness campaign from 17 to 29 May 2021.
This campaign is a joint effort in collaboration with the Society of African Missions), Elders for Earth, SHEP Earth Aware, and Green Spaces for Health.
We shared introductory educational resources in the form of articles and brief video essays about biodiversity and ecosystems, as well as resources outlining community efforts to protect biodiversity and natural habitats. We encourage everybody to use and share these resources!
Biodiversity and Laudato Si’
In 2015, Pope Francis published an encyclical letter titled Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home. This book-length letter to all people is a profound discussion of the environmental, social and ecological crisis facing our world today. The Holy Father, inspired by his namesake St Francis of Assisi, calls for a culture of care for our environment based on a vision of integral ecology.
In the encyclical, Pope Francis reminds us of the intrinsic value of all species and habitats in all their diversity. He laments the destruction of biodiversity at human hands, and calls for a new way of seeing our world that values biodiversity and respects eco-systems:
” 33 It is not enough, however, to think of different species merely as potential “resources” to be exploited, while overlooking the fact that they have value in themselves. Each year sees the disappearance of thousands of plant and animal species which we will never know, which our children will never see, because they have been lost forever. The great majority become extinct for reasons related to human activity. Because of us, thousands of species will no longer give glory to God by their very existence, nor convey their message to us. We have no such right.
34 It may well disturb us to learn of the extinction of mammals or birds, since they are more visible. But the good functioning of ecosystems also requires fungi, algae, worms, insects, reptiles and an innumerable variety of microorganisms. Some less numerous species, although generally unseen, nonetheless play a critical role in maintaining the equilibrium of a particular place. […] A sober look at our world shows that the degree of human intervention, often in the service of business interests and consumerism, is actually making our earth less rich and beautiful, ever more limited and grey, even as technological advances and consumer goods continue to abound limitlessly. We seem to think that we can substitute an irreplaceable and irretrievable beauty with something which we have created ourselves. […]
35 Caring for ecosystems demands far-sightedness, since no one looking for quick and easy profit is truly interested in their preservation. But the cost of the damage caused by such selfish lack of concern is much greater than the economic benefits to be obtained. Where certain species are destroyed or seriously harmed, the values involved are incalculable.”
(Laudato Si’, 33-36)
We are all called to address the present crisis facing world by recognising that we really all share one common home, and that we all have a responsibility of care for one another and the natural environment in all its diversity.
Integral Ecology and Laudato Si’
Read the Pope’s encyclical in full: Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home
SIX DAYS OF ACTION:
We hosted a Six Days of Action campaign from 24 to 29 May. Anybody and everybody interested in taking small steps to begin to protect biodiversity was invited to get involved! The campaign took place inside a private Facebook Group and each day instructions for an Action for the Day was live-streamed into the Facebook Group.
The group was interactive and supportive, and participants were encouraged to share their experience and challenges undertaking the daily action, as well as any tips and resources.
We will be sharing the action steps on our website in the coming weeks.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES ON BIODIVERSITY
- A video series explaining different eco-systems is available on the The Wild Report YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLfcX4mMRX8_jmCVe1ABfBOclUCNSvfKDk
- A TedEd YouTube video on “Why is biodiversity so important?” by Kim Preshoff is available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GK_vRtHJZu4
- The National Biodiversity Data Centre provides a wealth of information and resources on their website: https://www.biodiversityireland.ie/
- The National Biodiversity Data Centre also host an excellent website about pollinators containing information and resources: https://pollinators.ie
- Laois County Council provide an excellent guidebook on gardening for biodiversity: https://laois.ie/wp-content/uploads/Garden-Wildlife-Booklet-WEB-17MB.pdf
- Laois County Council has also created an excellent video series on YouTube on gardening for biodiversity: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL4SXNMePVC2HROIoCSHz5M_yYAn6hE-vA
- The National Biodiversity Data Centre website also provide a useful resource page about the Great Yellow Bumble Bee: https://pollinators.ie/helping-endangered-pollinators/great-yellow-bumblebee/