Catholic Relief Services has announced a new climate change campaign that aims to mobilize Catholics in the United States and others of goodwill to engage in advocacy and fundraising activities in support of climate change adaptation programs.

CRS carries out the commitment of the bishops of the United States to assist the poor and vulnerable overseas. The agency works with local, national and international Catholic institutions and structures to assist people on the basis of need — not creed, race or nationality. Since its inception during World War II, CRS has served 193 million people in 116 countries and has worked with 1,705 global partners.

As CRS has worked shoulder-to-shoulder with communities throughout the world, it has become increasingly clear that those who have contributed the least to climate change are being impacted the most.

“When climate change meets poverty, as it is in the Horn of Africa, it is a perfect storm of challenges, with millions of people at risk of going without food and water,” said Yohannes Subagadis, a CRS agricultural expert from East Africa. “As the world experiences increases in prolonged droughts, catastrophic storms, record temperatures and rising sea levels, countries must work together to protect all the people on the planet.”

CRS conducted a survey about American attitudes surrounding climate change and found that three out of every four Americans agree that action must be taken immediately to limit the impacts of climate change within the U.S.; 69 percent of people expressed the same about taking action to limit the impacts overseas. Fifty-five percent of Americans say the U.S. has a responsibility to help other counties cope with the effects of climate change, and Catholics are five times more likely to express that climate change is a shared responsibility.

“We hope this information helps inform U.S. lawmakers about the willingness of Americans, especially American Catholics, to act on behalf of the poor and vulnerable overseas,” said Bill O’Keefe, CRS executive vice president of mission, mobilization and advocacy. “In the words of the Holy Father, ‘Our relationship with the environment can never be isolated from our relationship with others and with God.’”

To learn more about the CRS climate change campaign announced in October and to become involved visit

— Originally published in the Winter 2022 issue of Vermont Catholic magazine.