A new group focused on developing enviornmental projects is to be launched in Derry, with an open invitiation issued to local people and groups.
The group , Laudato Si’ takes its name from thatof a recent text by Pope Francis calling for people to act upon ecological and global justice issues to protect ‘our common home’.
Peter Boucher, a retired teacher, and Seamus Farrell, who has worked in community develop across several African countries, are among 12 local people who have been involved in developing the new group. They said they wanted people of all backgrounds, all creeds or none, who have an interest in the environment to get involved.
The launch will take place at St Mary’s, Ardmore Parish Centre this Monday, November 6, at 7pm and is open to all.
Laudato Si (from Latin ‘Praise be to You’) is the title of a work by Pope Francis I in 2015 in which he outlined how it was the central duty of Christians and others to protect the world around us.
The Derry group, who have previously been involved in an project to plant one million trees across Ireland, hope to build upon the good work work already being undertaken locally by other groups.
Mr Farrell added: “Our hope would be to work with these agencies who are already working and we have among our members people who are already quite active in environmental initiatives.”
He added the group wasgearing up to offer workshops on the environment locally.
Mr. Boucher added: “This is inclusive rather than exclusive and all people of good will are invited. We are aware that there are many groups like Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace and many others doing great work and we will be trying to do things that compliment their work. We want to involve the whole community.
“We are hoping to start by raising awareness amongst people of Derry and the wider north west about the importance of caring for the earth. We also work closely with Trocaire who are very much into climate justice.”
As well as developing action-based initiatives, the group will also be involved in raising awareness about ecological issues with local schools and colleges.
“There is also a very important political dimension to our work,” Peter said. “We have seen Donald Trump pulling the US out of the Paris Accord. This is an example of working against the environment. There are important political issues here to be addressed.”
Bishop of Derry Dr. Donal McKeown and Sister Nelly McLaughlin, who has written books on the environment, will be attending the launch.