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Catholic Life

Students visit green ‘stations’

Students at a school in West Yorkshire embark on a climate change walk designed with 11 “Stations of the Environment”

By on Thursday, 12 January 2012

Schoolchildren from Yorkshire help out on last year’s pilgrimage     Photo:Victoria Taylor

Schoolchildren from Yorkshire help out on last year’s pilgrimage Photo:Victoria Taylor

Over the past few years, students and staff from St Mary’s Catholic High School in Menston, West Yorkshire, have been involved in a project aiming to raise awareness about the effects of climate change on the world’s poorest people and the impact our lifestyles have on the environment.

To help the campaign, Francis McCrickard of the Myddelton Grange team and Shelagh Fawcett, co-ordinator of Leeds diocese Justice and Peace Commission, came up with the idea of a climate change walk of “Stations of the Environment” about the land surrounding Myddelton Grange Centre.

The result is 11 “stations”, or stopping points, each with a beautifully designed board containing local and global information as well as spiritual reflections. The walk takes people not only on a journey through the extensive woodland and farmland of Myddelton but also on a much deeper journey. Each station gives information about its location but also makes connections with the global reality of climate change and invites a spiritual reflection.

St Mary’s pupils and staff have been involved in the project from the outset. Commenting on the student involvement Shelagh Fawcett said: “It is great to see our young people so passionate about creating a more just world and to witness their creativity in encouraging us all to recognise what we can do to make a difference.”

The climate change walk was officially opened by Kris Hopkins, MP for Keighley and Ilkley, who said: “It was a wonderful privilege to be asked to officially open the walk. The fact that more than 8,000 trees have been planted thus far is a remarkable achievement. They will serve as a great legacy for generations to come and, of course, have a positive impact on the local environment. It was particularly fitting that the opening was timed to coincide with the UN Climate Change Conference in Durban. I am proud that the current Government has committed itself to supporting international development at levels greater than any of its predecessors and, working alongside agencies such as Cafod, much good work is being done.

“I look forward to visiting the walk again in the future and would like to congratulate everyone at Myddelton Grange for what they have achieved.”

  • Brian A. Cook

    Folks, please don’t mock or demonize sincere efforts to instill respect for the environment. 

  • Anonymous

    These children need the Gospel of Jesus Christ, not the brainwashing drivel of environmentalism.

  • HyacinthClare

    The obvious substitution of the “Stations” for those in which these Catholic children should consider the passion of Jesus makes this look like a rather blatant attempt to “worship” the earth.   A nature walk is great.  Showing respect for the environment is great, and certainly Christian.  But nature is still a creature, not the Creator.   “Stations” are of the Cross.   Gaia is not god and should not be treated like one. 

  • Maureen O’Brien

    Rogation Days are the proper time to pray for the land and have processions. But that would make sense and be Catholic. Can’t have that.

  • Anonymous

    “Stations of the Environment” ?!? If Gaea is Mother Earth, how does she meet her mother, & who (or what) is it ? “Stations of the Underground” would make much better sense. And why is the bishop of the diocese tolerating the teaching of paganism to Catholics ? That there are 11 of these follies is striking – St. Augustine worked out, in the “City of God”, that 11 is the number of trangression.

  • Diffal

    “Sincere efforts to instill respect for the environment” I have no problem with. My problem is that the use of station here is very very odd. The link people have made between 
    the “stations of the cross” and the stations of the environment” is not a big leap. It is easy to draw the incorrect conclusion that what is being said is that the earth is some sort of divine being in a juxtaposition of the “stations of the cross” and the so called “stations of the environment”.
    But as we know the importance of ecology can only be correctly understood in its subordination to God not as some sort of gaia-like entity. Earth is not so much mother as sister

  • J Gill

    Myddelton Grange has an outside Calvary with Stations of the Cross (at least it used to). I hope that the students were taught about this as well as the 11 stopping points for the environment. 

  • Anonymous

    How sad to read the ignorant comments that seem to come from individuals who spend a great deal of their time searching for fuel to add to their bitterness. I have done this walk and can tell the ill-informed that it is well worthwhile. The spiritual reflections come from Ss. Francis and Theresa of Avila; the Bishops’ Conference; the present Pope and his predecessor and scripture itself. In no way are they meant to distract from THE Stations of the Cross. The Victorian stone Stations are still at Myddelton and are visited to stimulate prayer and reflection by every group of young people who go there (thousands each year). It is grossly insulting to people of deep Christian faith and good will to suggest that this singular effort to underscore God’s call for good stewardship of his creation is “earth worship”, “paganism”; “environmental brainwashing”. Silly… silly…silly. The Church suffers enough from ignorant attacks from without. It really does not need these wild, divisive attacks from within.