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Ideas for a Less Cluttered Christmas

However you celebrate, the holiday season provides an opportunity express gratitude for what we have and to spend time with the ones we love.  

  • Give a non-material gift like event tickets, membership to a local museum, or a charitable donation in someone's name
  • Gift something home-made or second-hand like baked goods, upcycled art, or quality used items.
  • Volunteer with a local charity or community organization – and bring your friends along, too.
  • Make a plan to relax. Holiday obligations and activities can leave us with little time to truly recharge. Set aside some time to get out into nature or to simply curl up with a good book.
  • Give the gift of an empty mailbox with Catalog Choice. This free website operated by The Story of Stuff Project can help you cancel unwanted catalogs and other junk mail. Sign up and get started now!

Check out hundreds more ideas for a simpler holiday season on our "Un-Stuff Your Holiday" Pinterest board. Or, read 15 commercial-free holiday tips for families from our friends at New Dream.

From The Story of Stuff Project  [ ]

Restoring Wisconsin’s Environmental Legacy
From Margaret Swedish at the Center for New Creation

Love, overflowing with small gestures of mutual care, is also civic and political, and it makes itself felt in every action that seeks to build a better world… Social love is the key to authentic development…social love moves us to devise larger strategies to halt environmental degradation and to encourage a “culture of care” which permeates all of society. When we feel that God is calling us to intervene with others in these social dynamics, we should realize that this too is part of our spirituality… [Pope Francis in Laudato Sí, 231]

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel did us all a great service by publishing a lengthy piece by Lee Bergquist on the disheartening transformation of the Department of Natural Resources under the current administration of Governor Walker and the state legislature [Wisconsin, under Scott Walker, no longer leads in conservation]. The tag line for this headline is telling: “Walker and GOP lawmakers have used one-party control since 2011 to engineer the biggest shift in natural resource management since the Clean Water Act.” It is major reversal of our once deeply rooted conservation legacy. Think Aldo Leopold or John Muir who must surely be rolling in their graves.

But lest anyone think this merely a partisan accounting of the policy changes under this current one-party government, Bergquist makes clear that these tendencies began during the administration of former Governor Jim Doyle.

Read Margaret Swedish's full call to engage here.

Toward a Spirituality of Ecological Conversion
From Margaret Swedish at the Center for New Creation
Our goal is not to amass information or to satisfy curiosity, but rather to become painfully aware, to dare to turn what is happening to the world into our own personal suffering and thus to discover what each of us can do about it. 
~ Pope Francis, Laudato Sí, [19]

It has become clear this year that policies meant to protect the environment are under assault from a new administration that is rolling back critical regulations. The Bureau of Land Management is intent on lifting bans on oil and gas drilling in protected parks and forests. The Clean Power Plan, a policy of the Obama administration and one of the core initiatives for reducing U.S. carbon emissions, is under threat as the Trump administration backs the coal industry. Regulations intended to prevent coal and other industries from dumping toxic wastes into rivers and streams are being lifted. And, of course, President Trump has removed the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accords altogether.

Read Margaret Swedish's call to engage here.

Investing in Clean Energy / Divesting from Non-Renewables
The international conference “Laudato Si' & Catholic Investing: Clean Energy for Our Common​ Home”, which took place in late January at Pontifical Lateran University, featured many expert speakers and Catholic case studies who demonstrated that fossil fuel divestment and clean energy investment are both possible and necessary. Catholic institutions are called to use their financial investments to “put an end to the fossil fuel era and provide renewable energy access for all,” as the Catholic Bishops of all continents have called.  Learn more about this important method of creating dynamic shift in demand for cleaner energy and how both individuals and Catholic institutions can take concrete steps to care for our common home through their investments.

Watch the Video Here


We Are Still In
On June 23 Mayor Barrett and other city leaders signed and adopted a Common Council resolution solidifying the City's support for the Paris Climate Accord.  
Mayor Barrett has already affirmed his commitment with more than 300 Mayors and thousands of businesses at

Archdiocesan Creation Care Collaboration

On November 21,2016 representatives from parishes, the Archdiocese, Marquette University, Marquette HS/Laudato Si' Project, City of Milwaukee, and Catholics for Peace and Justice/Waukesha County Green Team met to begin discussing how we can bring the content of Laudato Si’ more fully alive and prominent in our parishes and our community. Lots of good information was shared and connections made. The next meeting is Jan 13 at 12 noon. Contact Rob Shelledy at the Archdiocese to get on the information/invitation list. If you are interested in building a Creation Care ministry in your parish, connect with this group.

Environmental Racism Now on the Front Burner – Milwaukee County Statistics  Read Here

What is COP21?

More than two decades ago, members of the United Nations met in Rio de Janeiro for the “Earth Summit.” At this extraordinary gathering, attendees agreed on some basics about climate change and how to tackle its human causes. 

This agreement is called the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, or “UNFCCC.” In it, 196 nations agreed to meet every year to fashion a treaty on how to keep the planet from warming to dangerous levels, and how in the meantime to help affected people. These nations are “parties” to the UNFCCC agreement. 
Together we call this gathering of 196 nations the Conference of Parties, or COP for short. 

The COP has been meeting every year since 1994. This November 30, they will convene for the 21st time. And that’s where we get the term COP21

Why is COP21 Important?  


Laudato Si' Praise Be! Encyclical on Care for Creation from Pope Francis

Join the Force for Creation - Become a Laudato Si’ “Animator”. Animators promote the Laudato Si message to help turn it into action in their local communities, whether that be a parish, school, religious congregation, lay group, youth organization, retreat center, Boy Scout troop, or more. Learn More Here


Global Catholic Climate Movement Advent Resource Kit

Season of Creation Sept 1 - Oct 4

Eco-Parish Guide for Catholic Parishes.

Join the Eco-Parish Global Network

10 Things a Catholic Diocese Can Do To Promote Care for Our Common Home 

USCCB Laudato Si' Discussion Guide 

Catholic Climate Covenant Feast of St. Francis Program

USCCB Resource for Liturgy, Preaching and Taking Action

USCCB Care for Creation Scripture 

Scripture Bulletin Insert

Acts of Mercy for Our Common Home


Why Climate Change Is a Moral Issue

Laudato Si’ Vatican Video

CRS Care for Creation Video 


Catholic Climate Covenant 

Global Catholic Climate Movement

Interfaith Earth Network Milwaukee


Divest-Reinvest Catholic Toolkit

Twelve Priority Measures to Save Energy at Your Church

Looking for Water