As we enter the month of July, many around the world participate in Plastic Free July, a global movement that challenges individuals to reduce their plastic consumption and waste. For Catholics, this initiative resonates deeply with our call to be stewards of God’s creation, caring for the Earth and all its inhabitants with reverence and responsibility.

At the heart of Catholic social teaching lies the principle of stewardship: the belief that God has entrusted the Earth and its resources to humanity, calling us to care for it responsibly and ensure its flourishing for future generations. Pope Francis, in his encyclicalĀ Laudato Si’, urges us to recognise the interconnectedness of all creation and our moral responsibility to protect our common home. He writes, “We must regain the conviction that we need one another, that we have a shared responsibility for others and the world, and that being good and decent are worth it” (Laudato Si’, 229). This conviction challenges us to examine our lifestyles and consumption patterns, including our use of plastics, and seek ways to reduce our environmental impact.

Plastic pollution poses a significant threat to our environment, ecosystems and human health. single-use plastics, in particular, contribute to the degradation of land and marine environments, harming wildlife and contaminating water sources. The magnitude of this issue calls us to take urgent and collective action to reduce plastic waste and promote sustainable alternatives. As Catholics, we are called to see the impact of plastic pollution through the lens of justice and solidarity. Pope Francis reminds us, “We are faced not with two seperate crises, one environmental and the other social, but rather with one complex crisis which is both social and environmental” (Laudato Si’, 139). our choices regarding plastic consumption can either contribute to the common good or perpetuate injustices against vulnerable communities and future generations.

Plastic Free July is more than a month-long challenge; it is an opportunity to cultivate a deeper commitment to creation care as part of our Christian discipleship. By reducing our reliance on plastic and embracing sustainable practices, we honour God’s gift of creation and fulfil our role as stewards entrusted with its care. As Pope Francis reminds us, “We are not God. The Earth was here before us and was given to us” (Laudato Si’, 67). Let us respond to this gift with gratitude and responsibility, striving to leave a healthier and more sustainable planet for future generations.

During Plastic Free July and beyond, let us heed the call to care for our common home with diligence and love. By embracing sustainable practices and advocating for environmental justice, we witness to our faith and contribute to building a more just and sustainable world. May our efforts to reduce plastic waste be guided by the principles of stewardship, solidarity and love for our neighbour. Together, as a global Catholic community, let us work towards a future where all creation can flourish in harmony and abundance.