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  • Writer's pictureOverturnTheTables

Deeds not words

Last night I spent the night with my Nan, who I love with all of my heart. I brought her some DVDs for Christmas and some popcorn and chocolate so that we could have a movie night together. One of the movies I brought her was the Suffragette. One of the things I learnt was that during the movement, their main slogan was 'Deeds not Words.'

While people strike for climate justice, there are two things happening. 1. Climate activists get accused by climate deniers of being hypocrites because they 'aren't doing anything to help the environment by striking.' and 2. Climate activists are accusing the government and others of not doing enough and only talking.

I tend to be blunt. So I'm going to be blunt and say that I genuinely think that the Catholic Church as a whole is all words and no deeds. Laudato Si is a phenomenal document and it calls for a lot of dialogue (words), and it also calls for action (deeds), but we seem to do a lot of the words and not a lot of the deeds. I also find it frustrating when people say that young people and students need to be brought into the words to help make the deeds happen.... this just doesn't work to make change.

I think that there are two types of people that are going to make real culture change happen to help the environment, and I happen to be both of these types of people. Women and teachers.

Women because they are mothers and they have ability to shape routine in a home, they do the majority of the shopping and cleaning and raising of children (even though we all know men do way more now than they used too, we still know women do more of the mental load of the work). And teachers because they do all of this for lots of kids in a classroom every day when kids aren't with their parents. I want to focus on the school side of things.

Schools are very good at manipulating children to change their behaviours. It is their job. And within the school system this is mainly done by changing the behaviour of adults. It is all built in to how schools (especially Catholic schools) promote particular values through their behaviour management systems and ethos. So if we are ever going to see cultural change within schools we need to teach the behaviours that perpetuate care for creation, in the same was we perpetuate the value of the human person. Teaching behaviours is the role of teachers in schools, not students. Students can help with extra initiatives and they do have to do the behaviours, but they still need to be taught. This is what Deeds not Words looks like. This is what action not dialogue looks like.

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