Action Alert: The Great American Outdoor Act (GAOA)

Contact your representative and ask them to support the Great American Outdoor Act (GAOA).

Left to Right: Joshua Tree National Park, U.S. Capitol Building, Grand Teton National Park

Update: Congress passed the Great American Outdoor Act on July 22, 2020. Thank you to everyone who advocated for GAOA!

Background: The Great American Outdoor Act is a bipartisan bill that is twofold: 1) permanently funds the Land and Water Conservation Fund, 2) invests up to $9 billion in critical repairs at our national parks, forests, and other public lands. The GAOA overwhelmingly passed the Senate on June 17, 2020 with a 73-25 vote. The House is expected to vote on GAOA within the next week. 

Catholic Social Teaching: Caring for God’s Creation is one of the 7 themes of Catholic Social Teaching. In a recent letter of support for the GAOA from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development wrote:

“Catholic teaching recognizes the earth as a shared inheritance destined for all mankind. This spirit of intergenerational solidarity and justice calls for God’s ecological gifts to be extended to future generations. In his encyclical “On care for our common home,” Pope Francis emphasized the Old Testament teachings that “tell us to ‘till and keep’ the garden of the world (cf. Gen 2:15) [where] ‘keeping’ means caring, protecting, overseeing and preserving” (Laudato Si’, no. 67). The federal government, as the steward of public lands, plays an essential role in ‘keeping’ the abundant resources of the United States for the benefit and enjoyment of all people.”

Applied Catholic Social Teaching:

Contact your representative and ask them to support the Great American Outdoor Act. Find your elected officials and their contact information here.  

Example:

Dear <insert  representative>,

As as Catholic I care for God’s creation and encourage you to vote in support of the Great American Outdoor Act (GAOA). This bipartisan bill will provide full annual funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and invest up to $9 billion in critical repairs at our national parks, forests, and other public lands. 

The Great American Outdoor Act ensures the preservation of natural areas, wildlife habitats, and drinking water supplies that support life. It encourages wise use of resources, safeguards the intrinsic order of creation, and creates opportunities for recreation and cultural education. Investments in infrastructure restoration improve access to these spaces and protect the natural and human ecologies that are essential for integral human development. 

Thank you for your bipartisan collaboration and leadership in caring for our common home. 

Sincerely,

 <insert your name>

For questions contact Kayla S. Jacobs, Director of Programs, Laudato Si’ Ministries, Diocese of Joliet: kjacobs@dioceseofjoliet.org

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