A Letter That Lights The Way
We have the power to protect our common home.
Learn more about the extraordinary people in The Letter.
Pope Francis was born Jorge Mario Bergoglio in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and is the first pope from the Americas. Dedicated to a humble lifestyle, he lives in a simple apartment, cooks his own supper, and travels in a small car. He has often said, “My people are poor and I am one of them.”
Pope Francis encourages us to protect this planet, our common home, as a way to love one another and the Creator. He took his papal name from St. Francis, who gave up family wealth in order to serve the poorest and care for creation.
In 2015, Pope Francis published Laudato Si’, a letter addressed to “all people of good will.” Laudato Si’ explores today’s planetary crisis in the light of ancient wisdom from Catholic teaching. Pope Francis asks us to see that “everything is connected,” and to “hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.”
More about Cardinal Cantalamessa
Cardinal Raniero Cantalamessa is the preacher to the papal household, an official position that offers spiritual guidance to Vatican officials and is the only cleric to preach to the pope. In this role, he has served Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI, and Pope Francis.
Every week during Advent and Lent, Cardinal Cantalamessa offers a meditation to Catholic leaders. His teaching often focuses on the call to humbly serve.
Cardinal Cantalamessa is a member of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin. Originally from the Marche region of Italy, he spends much of the year in Assisi.
More about Cacique Dadá
Cacique Odair “Dadá” Borari is a leader of the Novo Lugar community of the Borarí people. The Borarí people reside in the Maró Indigenous Territory, located in present-day Pará, Brazil. The Maró lands include old-growth forests, teeming with life and beauty, where logging companies see only their own profit.
As illegal loggers began to increase their incursions into the Maró Territory, Cacique Dadá became expert in the use of a new technique to capture GPS-tagged photographs of their activities. His work created evidence of the loggers’ crimes, forcing government authorities to take action.
As a result of his courageous leadership, Cacique Dadá was captured and tortured by mercenaries, and must now travel with a security escort.
More about Arouna Kandé
Arouna is a climate refugee who grew up in a family of farmers in the Kolda region of Senegal, where nearly 80% of the people live in poverty.
Families like Arouna’s have long managed to make a living from small farms and herds. But harder droughts and growing deserts make their situation unlivable.
Arouna’s family became unable to provide for him, and at the age of 8 he was moved to the coastal city of Saint-Louis. Now a young man, Arouna has found that life in Saint-Louis is not removed from the realities of a changing planet. Because it is situated on the coast, Saint-Louis is being slowly consumed by a rising sea. Stronger storms often wash away homes and businesses.
With growing deserts in the east and rising waters in the west, Senegal is squeezed by the planentary crisis. Many young people see no choice but to risk the dangerous migration to Europe. Tragically, they often die along the way.
After filming was completed, Arouna enrolled in university. Along with pursuing his studies, Arouna is working in human development at Maison de la Garde, the community that started his path toward education, and he is supporting a tree planting campaign to reforest the interior of Senegal. He hopes to become a social worker to guide his home village towards sustainable development. Learn more about Arouna’s journey and how you can support his community here.
More about Ridhima Pandey
Ridhima Pandey is a young climate activist from Hadiwar, Uttarakhand, India.
Ridhima has been involved in activism since the age of nine, when she joined a lawsuit against the government of India, arguing that it had not taken met its obligations under the Paris agreement.
Ridhima was also a member of the UN complaint that accused five governments of violating the Convention on the Rights of the Child by failing to protect children from the dangers of a warming world.
Ridhima lives with her brother and parents close to the the Ganga (Ganges) River.
Greg Asner and Robin Martin
More about Greg Asner and Robin Martin
Greg Asner and Robin Martin are marine biologists and co-creators of a technique to create 3D maps of the world underwater. They live on the island of Hawaii, in the United States.
Over the years of their work, Dr. Asner and Dr. Martin have joined their wonder at the beauty of the natural world to hard science that helps to put numbers on nature’s loss and support conservation. Working together as both scientists and spouses, they strive to understand how a changing climate impacts marine life.
Dr. Martin is an associate professor of geography and Dr. Asner is the director of the Center for Global Discovery and Conservation Science at Arizona State University.
Dr. Asner and Dr. Martin continue to run the Hawaii Marine Education and Research Center, or MERC, which works with communities to increase coral reef resilience in a changing climate. Please consider supporting their work at Hawaii MERC.
More about Lorna Gold
Lorna Gold is the president of Laudato Si’ Movement, a movement to inspire and mobilize the Catholic community to care for our common home and achieve climate and ecological justice. She is an environmental activist and expert on the ways to build a sustainable economy.
From her days as a youth activist, Dr. Gold has worked in community to achieve real change in big systems. Dr. Gold was previously the Head of Policy and Advocacy at Trócaire and led the Laudato Si’ Project within the Catholic Church in Ireland, and is now the director of movement building at FaithInvest.
After filming was completed, Dr. Gold continued her service as president of the board of directors of Laudato Si’ Movement and as director of movement building at FaithInvest.
After production of this film ended, its people returned home with a renewed sense of purpose and potential. Learn more about how the protagonists lead work in their communities and what you can do to support them now.
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