Care for our Common Home: Just Transition to a Sustainable Future

Changes to the global climate, due in recent years primarily to greenhouse gases released as a result of human activity, have led to changes in precipitation, devastating wildfires, intensified storms, severe drought and other consequences around the world.  As catastrophic as these phenomena are, the transition to a more sustainable future through behavioral adaptations and cleaner forms of energy, as well as responding to climate crises that will arise in the near future, will bring about vast and costly economic, social and political disruption.  As Pope Francis wrote in his 2015 encyclical Laudato Si’, “We are faced not with two separate crises, one environmental and the other social, but rather with one complex crisis which is both social and environmental.”

The University of Notre Dame seeks to contribute to a transition to a cleaner future where the burdens of change are equitably borne and not simply sloughed off to the poor and powerless. During the 2021-22 academic year, the University, through its annual Notre Dame Forum, will engage in a series of conversations devoted to the theme “Care for Our Common Home: Just Transition to a Sustainable Future.” Inspired by Laudato Si’ and the Holy Father’s continued emphasis on these issues, the forum will feature a wide range of discussions and events over the coming year.

The question is not whether to transition to a cleaner, more sustainable future, but how and how quickly. As a university community whose work is the education of the next generation who will inherit these challenges, and as one with a Catholic mission calling us to seek justice and serve the common good around the globe, we turn to these urgent and complex questions.

- Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., President

To this end, we are creating this calendar of events for 2021 – 2022 to invite you to be part of the conversations happening across campus about these critically important issues.

Since its establishment in 2005 by Notre Dame’s president, Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., the Notre Dame Forum has invited a campus-wide dialogue about issues of importance to the University, the nation and the larger world, including challenges and opportunities of globalization, the role of presidential debates, immigration and the place of faith in a pluralistic society. Information on previous forums can be found here.