Environmental Advisory Group (EAG)

The Environmental Advisory Group was formed to support the Bishops' Conference in its important work on environmental issues.

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Background

Bishop John Arnold is the lead on the Environment for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.

Given the increasing need to take action on this issue, the calls for an urgent response by Pope Francis and the wealth of Catholic Social Teaching – including Laudato Si’ – the Catholic Church in England and Wales seeks to play a positive and active role.

Good custodianship of the environment is a cornerstone of our faith and we should make our voice heard in the public square – to government and policy makers.

To meet the urgent need to provide a practical response to Laudato Si’, and to support Bishop John Arnold and the wider Bishops’ Conference with the range of issues on this important topic, the Environmental Advisory Group was established.

Language is important on this issue. There are many ways of describing the crisis which faces the natural world and the people of our planet.

Our understanding is that this is a crisis for all creation – an ecological crisis. Laudato Si’ describes the necessary response as ‘integral ecology’, where all these crises are interconnected with common structural causes. Our response seeks to be equally holistic. We are using the term ‘environment’ as short-hand for the inter-linked crisis.

Purpose

The EAG will provide advice and guidance on how to respond to the environmental situation. It will
make proposals on initiatives and practical ways to respond to Laudato Si’.

More specifically the EAG will:

  • Track and promote the resources which are available to the Catholic Community to support them on this work, such as Global Healing, Call of Creation and materials produced by agencies and others.
  • Consider and propose any responses to the political, economic or social situations on this issue.
  • Consider the best approaches for dioceses, parishes and schools to live out a practical response to Laudato Si’ and how to resource these responses.
  • Propose ways the Catholic family can use its own resources – finances, land, others – to make a positive contribution to environmental crisis.
  • Review progress of CBCEW papers on the ecological crisis, with reports back to the Plenary Meetings.

Ways of Working

The EAG will meet bi-monthly and be chaired by Bishop John Arnold. It will invite others to join the
meeting as appropriate. Notes from the meeting will be shared with associated partners.

The EAG will maintain close links with CAFOD, the Laudato Si’ Research Institute at Campion Hall and
other Catholic groups.

Membership

The group will seek a membership which represents the Catholic family in England and Wales and the
specialist knowledge necessary. Areas to be covered:

  • Politics
  • Religious orders
  • International
  • Nature
  • Diocesan
  • Schools
  • Finance

Members

Bishop John Arnold, Bishop of Salford (Chair)
Marie Southall, Director of Partnerships and Public Affairs at CBCEW
Neil Thorns, Director of Advocacy and Communications at CAFOD,
Lord Deben, Sancroft International and Chair of the Climate Change Committee,
Celia Dean-Drummond, Director of the Laudato Si’ Research Institute, Campion Hall,
Carlos Zepeda, Assistant Director, Policy and Practice at the Laudato Si’ Research Institute, Campion Hall
Edward De Quay, Carbon Transition Officer at the Laudato Si’ Research Institute, Campion Hall
Chris Fegan, Chief Executive of Catholic Concern for Animals
Emma Gardner, Diocesan Head of Environment, Diocese of Salford
Theo Hawksley, Social and Environmental Justice lead at the London Jesuit Centre
Father Michael Holman SJ
Lyn Murray, COO Clifton Diocese
David Shreeve, Environmental Advisor to the Archbishops’ Council