Media CenterOne Year On: Pope’s Encyclical on the Environment a Game Changer for how World Approaches Climate

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Kim Pozniak
Catholic Relief Services
[email protected]


PRESS CONFERENCE: From International Accords and Funding to Grassroots Activism, Laudato Si’ Inspires Change


En español

Baltimore, MD. June 9, 2016 – One year after Pope Francis released his much-anticipated encyclical on the environment -- ‘Laudato Si’ On the Care of our Common Home’, -- Catholic Relief Services (CRS) president and CEO, Dr. Carolyn Y. Woo, says the signs of change are evident.

“Think of what has happened in the past year,” Woo said. “The Paris accords were signed. The Green Climate Fund that helps poor nations adapt to a changing climate received its first contribution of $500 million from the United States. It is so clear that the Holy Father made the entire world confront this issue in a new way.”

Woo will highlight the work of the global Catholic Church to help communities adapt to climate change in a telephone press conference on Monday, June 13, 2016 at 10 am ET (7 am PT). She will be joined by Bishop Oscar Cantú of Las Cruces, New Mexico, and chair of the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), and representatives of Catholic Charities USA and the Catholic Climate Covenant, to provide a U.S. Catholic perspective of how the encyclical has been put into practice over the last year and what steps they are taking to ensure its lasting impact for Catholics across the U.S. and the world. To join, see instructions below.

“Pope Francis made clear that the essential question is - what kind of world do we want to leave to our children,” Woo said. “It is a question we ask ourselves every day at CRS. To give it the right answer, the encyclical tells us that we must change our relationship with the bounty that God has given us in the natural world. We must be its stewards, not its exploiters.” 

Woo was one of five presenters in Rome at the launch of the encyclical.  As president of CRS and former dean of the Mendoza School of Business at the University of Notre Dame, she was asked to address the roles business and the markets have in moving the world from environmental degradation to a path of inventive and active care for creation, our common home.

One year later, the encyclical’s call for action has begun to ripple across industries, governments, higher education, faith communities and humanitarian development organizations like CRS.

In December, 195 nations agreed to the U.N. Paris climate agreement, with 175 countries, including the United States and China, signing the agreement on Earth Day this year.  The United States deposited its first contribution of $500 million to the Green Climate Fund in March, and in the Church, more than 100 Catholic University presidents signed a declaration of commitment to provide “influential leadership [...] to address the pressing emergencies of climate change, social exclusion, and extreme poverty…”

And CRS launched the “I Am Climate Change” campaign, which energized students on college campuses across the country both to look at their own behaviors as well as advocate to others, most especially our government.

Around the world, CRS continues to seek new and innovative ways to confront the issues that the changing climate brings to the poor. Across Africa, millions of farmers are adopting climate-smart agriculture by planting better types of crops, using improved tilling techniques and taking measures to preserve water and soil.

In Central America, farmers are learning about crops that will survive as rising temperatures mean the crops they depended on for generations will no longer flourish. In Asia, various disaster preparedness schemes help people predict and prepare for rising sea levels and severe storms.

“Laudato Si’ is an important milestone on a long journey,” Woo said. “It has helped energize and direct us as we continue to address the many mistakes made by man. We must be patient and persevere. It took a long time to get us in this situation and it will take a long time to get out of it.”

To join the tele-press conference on Monday, June 13, at 10 am ET:

U.S. Toll Free: (888) 466-9863; Code: 8075 641#

To download photos, video and other content, please visit our Laudato Si’ Current Issues Page.


Catholic Relief Services is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. The agency alleviates suffering and provides assistance to people in need in more than 100 countries, without regard to race, religion or nationality. CRS’ relief and development work is accomplished through programs of emergency response, HIV, health, agriculture, education, microfinance and peacebuilding. For more information, please visit or and follow CRS on social media: Facebook, @CatholicRelief@CRSnewsYouTube, Instagram and Pinterest.


Kim Pozniak

Director of Communications

Kim Pozniak
June 9, 2016

Based in Baltimore, MD

As the Director of Communications, Kim oversees the communications and social media teams working with journalists and the media to connect them with engaging stories about relief and development programs that are making a tangible difference in people’s lives around the world.

Her previous work at CRS includes handling emergency...More