A NO-FEE “BUYING CLUB FOR ELECTRICITY”
We’re excited and we think you may be, too, about Community Choice Aggregation (CCA*), like a buying club for electricity, with no membership fee!
*CCA is a policy that allows cities, towns, or villages to bundle together the electricity usage of its residents and small businesses as a block in order to negotiate favorable contracts for the purchase of an electric supply for the community. This strategy allows a municipality to leverage its buying power to contract with a supplier directly for a lower cost than the current rate and pass on the savings to the membership. It’s like the savings you get when you buy in bulk. And CCA keeps rates more stable and can designate 100% renewable energy sources!
To implement CCA: A municipality passes legislation to explore and enable adoption of CCA. The municipality then solicits bids from electricity suppliers, stipulating cost and source–usually clean electric (no fossil fuels), or all renewable (solar/wind/geothermal/hydro). CCA not only brings savings, but is an expeditious way to gain social justice and a sustainable energy economy.
Learn about an “Electricity Buying Club”
Jan 15 — St. Anne Social Hall – 7:00 pm
MORE WAYS TO “Green” YOUR CHRISTMAS
Have you calculated the impact of your family’s lifestyle at MYFOOTPRINT.org? Last week, we offered two ways to go greener, starting with Christmas: 1. Buy one fewer gift in favor of giving your time or money to a special person or cause. 2. Adjust the thermostat down. Three more steps to a greener Advent:
- Focus on vegetarian dishes for Christmas celebrations. Tending livestock for meat production contributes significantly to greenhouse gas emissions. Vegetarian cuisine is native to many cultures, so family members may enjoy familiar dishes, as well as exploring new ones.
- Plan your Christmas shopping to make as few car trips as possible. Fossil-fueled transportation contributes to climate change, so consider public transportation or walking! When driving, combine multiple stops into one tri to spend less time in traffic and generate fewer emissions.
- Before buying gifts, research ethical and sustainable sources. A5- or 10-minute Internet search can help you support a small-scale producer and protect the goodness of creation. The story behind your gift may inspire its recipient, and the gift will benefit the local environment.
Take one or more of these simple steps this Christmas
– For the love of God’s creation –
Learn about an “Electricity Buying Club” Jan 15 St. Anne 7pm
CALCULATE YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT and “GREEN YOUR CHRISTMAS”
DID YOU KNOW: Our lifestyle can compromise the planet’s ability to meet the needs of future generations! Calculate your impact using a carbon footprint calculator or worksheet. For example, at MYFOOTPRINT.org you can estimate the amount of land and ocean area needed to sustain your consumption patterns and absorb your wastes on an annual basis. At the end, you will find many simple ways to reduce the footprint in each consumption category — carbon, food, housing, and goods & services. Protecting creation and our planet’s vulnerable peoples can be part of the joy of Christmas. Here are two ways to “Green” your Christmas:
- Producing consumer goods on a large scale requires enormous energy and material resources. Buy one fewer gift and spend time, instead, with a special person, or donate to a cause that serves the most vulnerable.
- Heating/cooling is the single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in many countries.As the weather changes, adjust the thermostat down one degree. When asleep or out, dial down by several degrees.
“A constant flood of new consumer goods can baffle the heart and prevent us from cherishing each thing and each moment.” Pope Francis, Laudato Si
Christmas is a reminder that God loves us. Share that love by taking a few simple steps – For the love of creation.
Next event: An “Electricity Buying Club” for your Town!
Jan 15 St. Anne 7pm
What is your CARBON FOOTPRINT?
This term means all of the greenhouse gas emissions that you cause. These emissions into the atmosphere contribute to climate change. For the average household, most emissions have indirect sources, from the fuel burned to produce the goods that you consume, as well as direct sources like your car or stove. The carbon footprint is often calculated in terms of carbon dioxide because our use of carbon is an indicator of UNSUSTAINABLE energy use (energy from nonrenewable sources that take billions of years to form). Knowing our carbon footprint is an incentive to implement strategies to reduce it. Pope Francis emphasized that broad changes are necessary for businesses and consumers:
“A change in lifestyle could bring healthy pressure to bear on those who wield political, economic, and social power. This is what consumer movements accomplish by boycotting certain products. They prove successful in changing the way businesses operate, forcing them to consider their environmental footprint and their patterns of production. When social pressure affects their earnings, businesses clearly have to find ways to produce differently.” Laudato Sí, 206
Next week: Carbon footprint calculators
Dan Misleh, Founding Executive Director of the web resource, Catholic Climate Covenant, wrote the following letter to Covenant readers. We share it here for your reflection as we move into the holiday season and the holy days of Advent —
“I dread this time of year when our national identity as wasteful consumers shifts into hyper-drive — the TV ads, the storefronts, the craziness of Black Friday. I have nothing against gift-giving or companies making a profit. But it seems to me that our over-consumption is symptomatic of a larger problem, that of our core relationships, including with our planet.
“There remains so much apathy towards our Common Home. Too many have yet to truly connect the demands of our faith with care for Creation and the poor. Let’s each consider how this Christmas might be different. Start with prayer and an honest assessment of priorities. Include time to examine the quality of three integrated relationships for an authentic Christian life — with God, with one another, and with our earth. Let us together make this holiday season one where we shift our focus to what truly matters. In peace, Dan”
“BUY NOTHING” DAY Friday Nov 24
On Black Friday this year, many will NOT SHOP on Thanksgiving or the day after. They avoid the joyless, angry frenzy of consumption, supporting corporations that force low-wage employees to work on Thanksgiving. Instead, they spend time with family and neighbors. Pope Francis explains:
Excerpts from the Message of Pope Francis on the First World Day of the Poor
“We know how hard it is for our contemporary world to see poverty clearly for what it is. Yet in myriad ways poverty challenges us daily, in faces marked by suffering, marginalization, oppression, violence, torture and imprisonment, war, deprivation of freedom and dignity, ignorance and illiteracy, medical emergencies and shortage of work; trafficking and slavery, exile, extreme poverty, and forced migration. Poverty has the face of women, men, and children exploited by base interests, crushed by the machinations of power and money. What a bitter and endless list we would have to compile were we to add the poverty born of social injustice, moral degeneration, the greed of a chosen few, and generalized indifference! The poor are not a problem: They are a resource from which to draw as we strive to accept and practice in our lives the essence of the Gospel.”
Reasons for Stewardship
“What is happening to life on this planet is a matter of our faith.” This was Fr. Tyman’s thought-provoking message on the environment last month, followed by three faith-based motivations for Christ’s followers to care for the earth:
All of creation is gift for which we demonstrate our gratitude through good stewardship of the earth.
We are neighbor to future generations and those alive today to whom we are accountable through love.
We recognize God in all of God’s creation which we preserve that it may continue to reveal the Creator to us.
As we consider these spiritual aspects of our relationship to the environment, we may wonder what we can do to take care of the environment more seriously. Fr. Tyman suggested these specific ways to get started:
- Read Pope Francis’ encyclical letter Laudato Sí, “On Care for Our Common Home”
- Join our Cluster’s Environmental Ministry efforts, inspired by the Pope’s writings, to study the issues and propose practical steps
- Look for information and suggestions each week in the short articles printed here
Our recycling and use of renewable energy & products
— everything we do for the environment –
is a prayer of gratitude to God
Here is the last of three spiritual aspects of our relationship to the environment that Fr. Tyman posed in a recent homily on our call to care for creation.
We Catholics are sacramental, believing that the ordinary things of this world show us something of God. At Mass, bread and wine reveal God nurturing and sustaining. At baptism, ordinary water shows the Holy Spirit welling up in a life-giving stream. Olive oil in the anointing of the sick is a sign of God’s healing. This sacramental understanding opens connections to the whole world. The Jesuit poet Gerard Manley Hopkins wrote often of how contemplating nature led him to contemplate God. In Hopkins’s poem, “God’s Grandeur,” God’s greatness can be found in everything, even as human activity works to crush the presence of God –
… Generations have trod, have trod, have trod ….
And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs –
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.
Our actions to preserve the environment
protect nature’s ability to reveal the Creator to us
Here is the second of a 3-part answer to this question presented by Fr. Tyman in a recent homily on our call to care for creation, along with snippets from papal writings to aid our reflection:
Jesus teaches us to love our neighbors as ourselves. Not only are the people alive today our neighbors, but also those in generations to come. Pope Francis remarked on our responsibility to future “neighbors”:
“We may well be leaving to coming generations debris, desolation, and filth. The pace of consumption, waste, and environmental change has stretched the planet’s capacity…. The effects of the present imbalance can only be reduced by our decisive action, here and now. We need to reflect on our accountability before those who will have to endure the dire consequences.” Laudato Sí 161
“Here I would reiterate that ‘God has joined us so closely to the world around us that we can feel the desertification of the soil almost as a physical ailment, and the extinction of a species as a painful disfigurement’ Caritas in Veritate.” Laudato Sí 109
Will we continue to ruin the home that we leave to our children, grandchildren, and all who follow after us?
Our re-cycling, our work for sustainability
— everything we do for the environment –
are acts of love to our neighbors, present and future
Our Spiritual Relationships with the Environment
In a recent weekend homily, our pastor Fr. Tyman spoke of the spiritual aspects of our relationship to the environment, emphasizing that what is happening to life on this planet is a matter of our faith. Below is a digest of the first part of Father’s message, allowing us to reflect again on the call to be stewards of the environment.
Many ways in which humans relate to the environment result in damage to the earth, often visibly – such as dumping trash into our waterways, even fouling distant shores, affecting the sustenance of peoples who fish there. Numerous such harmful activities are chronicled in Pope Francis’s encyclical on the environment.
We heard two vineyard stories at Mass this month that illuminate the spiritual aspects of our actions toward our common home. God is revealed in these stories as the owner, the Creator, of the vineyard. The tenants neither created it nor own it. They received it and benefit from it and, thus, are accountable to the owner for its well-being. As we profess in our Stewardship Prayer each month, we receive everything from God as gift.
It is all grace. Rather than exploit and trash the earth, we care for this gift from our Creator in gratitude.
Our recycling and use of renewable energy & products
— everything we do for the environment –
is a prayer of gratitude to God
God Bless Our Pets
For those who could not bring their pets to church for blessing, here is a brief service for your family to pray over your pets at home.
Leader: Come, let us gather together and praise our Creator. A reading from Genesis 1: God said, “Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the dome of the sky.” So God created the great sea monsters of every kind with which the waters swarm, and every winged bird of every kind, and every living creature that moves. And God saw that it was good. And God blessed them. And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind.” God saw everything that God had made and, indeed, it was very good.
Form a circle of blessing and pray: Blessed are you, Lord God, maker of all living creatures. You inspired St. Francis to call all of them his brothers and sisters. We ask you to bless our beloved [say your pet’s name.] All: Guided by the Holy Spirit, we will care for creation and all the world’s vulnerable people! We will nurture our pets and all animal kin! We will celebrate the circle of life with them. Blessed are you, Lord our God, in all your creatures! Amen.
The 2017 Season of Creation opened with the World Day of Prayer, Sept 1st, and concluded on the Feast of St. Francis, Oct 4th. Christians around the globe renewed a commitment to creation care. Pope Francis explained:
Doomsday predictions can no longer be met with irony or disdain. We may well be leaving to coming generations debris, desolation and filth. The pace of consumption, waste, and environmental change has so stretched the planet’s capacity that our contemporary lifestyle, unsustainable as it is, can only precipitate catastrophes, such as those which even now periodically occur in different areas of the world. The effects of the present imbalance can only be reduced by our decisive action, here and now. We need to reflect on our accountability before those who will have to endure the dire consequences. Pope Francis, Laudato Sí #161
We put the creation care values of Pope Francis into action by living the St. Francis Pledge:
- PRAY with and for creation
- LIVE more simply — lower your carbon footprint
- ADVOCATE to protect our common home
On Pet-Blessing Weekend: What can we learn from Francis of Assisi? The reflections below are excerpts from “Care for Creation: A Franciscan Spirituality of the Earth” by I. Delio, K.D. Warner, & P. Wood
Francis reveled in the sun, gazed upon the stars, danced with the air, was drawn to fire, marveled at water, and loved the earth. He recognized the beauty of God in creation and loved God all the more for the abundance of this gift.
Francis experienced God in Creation. If we believe that Creation is God speaking to us–that God’s love is reflected in creation–how could we fail to safeguard it? Unless we begin to think with the heart, we will not be moved to change our attitudes and behaviors toward the nonhuman created world. We, too, must see creation as the mirror of God, even in its perilous condition.
We who live in affluent countries have the power to make alternative choices, to curb our consumption and live lives of greater simplicity, motivated by care of the earth. Francis valued the earth, not as his home alone, but first and foremost as God’s home, with Christ as the meaning and model of creation. Every leaf, cloud, fruit, animal, and person is an outward expression of the Word of God in love. Thus, nothing in creation is accidental. Nothing is worthless or trivial.
Composting at Home, Part II. Backyard Composting How-To. Last week’s article described the necessary ingredients for compost. Your compost pile should have an equal amount of browns to greens, alternating layers of organic materials of different-sized particles. Avoid adding anything that might kill beneficial composting organisms; or contain substances harmful to plants; or parasites or germs harmful to humans. And, no items that create odors or attract pests (mice, flies). Regular mixing or turning of the compost and some water helps maintain the compost.
There are numerous ways to process the compost. The following are general steps:
- Select a dry, shady spot near a water source
- Add brown and green materials as you collect them — chop or shred larger pieces
- Moisten dry materials as they are added
- Once your compost pile is established, mix grass clippings and green waste into the pile
- Bury fruit and vegetable waste 10 inches deep
- Cover top of compost with a tarp to keep it moist
When the material at the bottom is dark and rich in color, your compost is ready to use! This usually takes anywhere from two months to two years.
Taken from EPA composting site: www.epa.gov/recycle/composting-home
Composting at Home, Part I. Compost is organic material that can be added to soil to help plants grow. Food scraps and yard waste make up 20%-30% of what is thrown away, but which can be composted instead. Keep these materials out of landfills where they take up space and release methane, a potent greenhouse gas.
In your yard, the compost will:
- Enrich soil, retain moisture, and suppress plant diseases & pests
- Help avoid chemical fertilizers
- Help produce beneficial bacteria & fungi to break down organic matter and create rich nutrient-filled humus
Compost Recipe. All composting requires three basic ingredients:
- Browns for carbon (ex., dead leaves or twigs)
- Greens for nitrogen (ex., grass, vegetables, fruits)
- Water to break down the organic matter for compost development
OK to compost: Fruits, vegetables, eggshells, coffee grounds & filters, tea bags, nut shells, shredded paper, yard trimmings & grass, leaves, cotton & wool rags, dryer & vacuum cleaner lint, hair, fur
NOT OK to compost: Dairy products, eggs, diseased or insect-ridden plants, fats, meat scraps, fish bones, pet waste, yard debris treated with chemicals
To be continued next week…
Taken from EPA composting site: www.epa.gov/recycle/composting-home
Fair Trade & the Environment. Why is ethical trade important? Because every purchase has an impact.
From JaKE LYELL on the CRS website: “Poor working conditions, unfair wages, human trafficking, production methods and materials that harm the environment—these business practices are more common than you think. That’s why it’s important to buy ethically traded products.
“It’s also important to examine our consumption on a deeper level. What do you truly need as opposed to merely want? More often than not, crass materialism negatively impacts everything, from our spiritual life to the environment. In addition to becoming more informed about our purchases, we must ask ourselves what we really need to live a life that honors God, His people and His creation.”
Have you ever shopped at Catholic Relief Services’ Fair Trade store? Their new webpages, CRS “Ethical Trade”, have a much wider selection now of crafts, food, and clothing, as well as other ethically made products. Jewelry options are quite wide, from every-day to engagement rings.
Learn more at http://ethicaltrade.crs.org/
CARTS OVERFLOWING. An immigrant’s first impression of the American grocery store: Just how much people packed into their shopping carts…
There was food of great variety, arrayed in alluring displays of vast quantities, in multiple packaging formats. And available at all hours. Not only abundant, perfect in size, shape, and color and relatively inexpensive, “cheap” compared to much of the world.
It looked like everyone was preparing for a famine!
And we expect nothing less. What if our everyday decisions were guided by the desire to optimize our use of food, as we do with any scarce resource…
- Teaching our kids that wasting food is “not cool.”
- Making a grocery list and sticking to it in the store
- For 1 week, keeping track of what we throw away to see how the little bits add up
- Serving smaller portion sizes for dinner.
- Finding recipes to use up leftovers.
Value food as the life-sustaining resource that it is.
It is manifestly unjust that a privileged few should continue to accumulate excess goods, squandering available resources, while masses of people are living in conditions of misery at the very lowest level of subsistence. Today, the dramatic threat of ecological breakdown is teaching us the extent to which greed and selfishness – both individual and collective – are contrary to the order of creation, an order which is characterized by mutual interdependence.
St John Paul II World Day of Peace 1990
Food too good to waste. Some experts estimate that wasted food costs a family of four $1600 a year, but ends up in landfills, producing methane gas (a greenhouse gas), instead of going to hungry mouths. In the US, food makes up 21% of municipal waste streams, generating 37 million tons per year.
Food waste at home: Every year, about 429 pounds of food that could have been eaten in each home is thrown away instead. Too much may be prepared (e.g., what’s left on kids’ plates). Some burns on the stove. The rest is not used in time, mostly vegetables & salads, and is often never even opened!
The environmental justice program of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops reports a growing recognition among Catholics that protecting the environment is everyone’s moral duty. Catholics ask: “What does it mean to care for our common home?” It can start by planning our purchases and curbing food waste.
WASTE from a culture of abundance. Here’s a staggering statistic: Up to half of all food produced is lost before it can be eaten. The water that went into producing it is also wasted at a time when there is severe drought in key food production areas. Plus, food in landfills produces methane gas and pollutes water through runoff. Food waste is also a serious social problem. About 1 in 6 Americans experiences food insecurity, lacking enough high-quality calories to maintain a healthy lifestyle, leading to obesity and diet-related illness. Without this basic human need, there is frustration and resentment – dissension rather than community.
Pope Francis asks us to reflect:
Once our grandparents were very careful not to throw away any food. Consumerism has led us to become accustomed to the daily waste of food. The food we throw away is as if we had stolen it from the table of the poor or hungry! I invite everyone to identify vehicles for sharing and solidarity with the neediest.
A penchant for convenience and saving time can lead to food waste. What can we do about that?
WHAT’S IN YOUR GARBAGE? Have we become part of the “throwaway culture” that Pope Francis described in his encyclical on climate change? We can reduce the amount of waste we create by changing how we purchase:
- Minimize buying items such as plastic, which will remain in landfills for hundreds of years
- Buy in bulk — Plan your purchases with friends or family; share extra veggies or flowers from your garden with neighbors or co-workers
- Use reusable containers, eliminating plastic wrap or aluminum foil for leftovers
- Avoid single-use products — For casual parties, ask guests to “Bring your own cup/plate.” Use cloth napkins and tablecloths rather than paper
- Bring reusable shopping bags to the grocery store
- Buy laundry soap and shampoo in large containers and transfer to reusable smaller bottles
- If there are clothes in your closet that you no longer use, donate to a shelter or clothes drive
- Donate books to libraries or hospitals.
- Find your pet at a shelter instead of a breeder
Resist the urge to throw away. Think about what can be reused or recycled. Changing habits takes effort but will save space in a landfill and benefit our community.
WATER WASTE. Environmental degradation has affected water supplies around the globe. Pope Francis reminds us that “access to safe drinking water is a basic and universal human right.” Yet many poor people live with water scarcity – evidence of the global inequality of our environmental crisis.
What if you turned on the faucet and got muddy contaminated water? What if you don’t even have a faucet? We each use about 12,000 gallons of water a year! Some suggestions on how to cut back:
- Install a low-flow shower head in each bathroom and a low-flow water-aerator on sink faucets.
- Use reusable water bottles. An inexpensive filter on the kitchen tap provides 40,000 glasses of purified tap water.
- Minimize watering the lawn — the rain will come. And you’ll mow less often if you water less.
- Catch rainwater in a bucket for your house plants.
- Run the dishwasher and clothes washer only when you have a full load.
- Showers use less water than baths. Save water and the energy to heat it by shortening your showers.
- Instead of washing your car at home, go to a car wash, which recycles the water.
Don’t let water run needlessly down the drain while brushing your teeth. Wet the brush, turn off the water, brush, then rinse your brush.
JOIN OUR NEW MINISTRY! Early this year, we joined faith communities around our region and across the globe in responding to the words of Pope Francis:
We must regain the conviction that we need one another, that we have a shared responsibility for others and the world.” [Laudato Sí, 229.]
Like other parishes, we, too, have formed an environmental ministry here in our Cluster. We learned from the Pope’s encyclical on Care for Our Common Home that …
- Human activity has contributed to some causes of global warming [Laudato Sí, 23]
- Effects of climate change have an inordinate effect on poor and vulnerable populations
- Complex political, economic, and societal/cultural factors are working against good stewardship for the planet and its inhabitants
This makes environmental change a social problem. And “social problems must be addressed by community networks and not simply by the sum of individual good deeds.” [Laudato Sí, 219] That is why Environmental Ministry at Saint Anne † Our Lady of Lourdes will engage us all in learning what can be done, turning knowledge into action, and praying for all of God’s Creation.
OUR MISSION. Our new Environmental Ministry group has been studying and reflecting on Pope Francis’s statements on Creation Care, the Common Good, and our obligations to act. In response, the group summarized their purpose in the following mission statement:
The Church recognizes that the web of life and the promotion of human dignity requires the protection and care of God’s creation. As stewards, we strive to inspire our Catholic faith community to pray, act, and advocate for our earth and for future generations.
Do you know anyone listed below? Ask them to tell you about environmental ministry.
Noralyn Bayer – Margaret Becket – Pat Bertucci – Vincent Cilento – Carol De Filippo – Jim Hilbert – Pat Klees – Jack Lynch – Jeriann McEvoy – Paula Mir – Linda Perlet – Jean Shafer – Mary Lisa Sisson – Michael Sisson – Matt Ulterino – Rose Yeager
We invite all to join us.
ENVIRONMENTAL MINISTRY in our Cluster. How easy to close our eyes to shrinking polar ice packs and rising ocean levels, polluting coal plants, water scarcity, and other causes and effects of global climate change. But, with his encyclical on the environment, Pope Francis forced eyes open, calling Catholics to action. And so, this year, 16 concerned men and women came together to form the Saint Anne † Our Lady of Lourdes Environmental Ministry. We pray & read, debate & march, plan projects, and inspire each other to act for the Common Good.
Join us July 11th 7-9pm +++ Our Lady of Lourdes basement
FROM SAINT FRANCIS to POPE FRANCIS. Two years ago, Pope Francis addressed a message to “every person living on this planet,” speaking of the degradation of our environment as a symptom of deeper problems: Extreme consumerism, over-consumption, and indifference to the poor.
On this 2nd anniversary of Laudato Sí: On Care for Our Common Home, we commemorate the Pope’s call for a “bold cultural revolution” by committing to the creation care values of St. Francis of Assisi –
I pledge to:
PRAY and reflect on the duty to care for God’s Creation and protect the poor and vulnerable.
LEARN about and educate others on the causes and moral dimensions of climate change.
ASSESS how we contribute to climate change by our own energy use, consumption, waste, etc.
ACT to change our choices and behaviors to reduce the ways we contribute to climate change.
ADVOCATE for Catholic principles and priorities in climate change discussions and decisions, especially as they impact those who are poor and vulnerable.
This is our challenge, this is our promise, and so we pray all this in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
SUMMER CONSERVATION. St. Paul’s words remind us: “Faith without works is dead.” Let us embrace behaviors that reflect our concern about creation. Here are two concrete steps to take in solidarity with our mother Earth, and the poor and vulnerable across the globe who suffer most from climate change:
- Adjust the thermostat. Turn down the air conditioning to reduce your home’s energy consumption. This is probably one of your most carbon intensiveactivities, but a change of just 5 degrees is a great start! Even better: Install a programmable thermostat.
- Use your window coverings. This summer, close your curtains during the day to block heat from the sun. In winter, open your curtains to allow the sun to warm the house.
Such simple steps can significantly reduce the need for AC and heating, and your personal consumption of energy.
The U.N. designates June 20 as World Refugee Day. Honor your immigrant ancestors by taking action to benefit future generations.
ENERGY CONSERVATION. Give Your CLOTHES DRYER a VACATION. In many countries, the norm is to air-dry freshly-washed laundry. About a third of American households do dry on a line or a rack — No need for the energy-intensive process of creating heat in the dryer and in the house, especially in the summer.
Hang-drying is one way to make a difference by reducing damage to our environment from burning fossil fuels just to dry the wash. This is smart for the care of the Earth, responds to our call to be stewards of our shared home, and contributes to the health of our families:
- Clothes will smell great when hung outdoors to dry
- Your favorite items will be safe from dryer wear-and-tear and shrinkage
- Your energy bill will shrink — Air-drying is free; no softener or dryer sheets to buy; you can use a cold-water wash and still get clean clothes – the sun deodorizes and is antibacterial!
Air-dry tips: Clothes can be air dried no matter the season, but sometimes may seem stiff. Instead of buying toxic fabric softener, add ½ cup vinegar to the final rinse to soften clothes and break down the detergent (no odor is left) – a plus for detergent-sensitive allergies. Prevent wrinkles by snapping your clothes before hanging. Place shirts and pants on hangers instead of using clothespins. No space outside? Expecting rain? Dry indoors using a folding rack.
The climate crisis is a serious concern. It’s time for us to get serious about reducing “luxury” energy use.
WHY CATHOLICS CARE ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE …
… because: “Everything is connected.” In a 2015 article from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, this theme from Pope Francis’s encyclical on Care for Our Common Home is expanded:
“Our attitude toward our common home is inseparable from our attitude toward the unborn, poor, and all who are vulnerable. The crises of our age have arisen because we refuse to receive created things in humility, simple joy, and awe at the work of God.”
Author, Aaron Matthew Weldon, continues with some simple suggestions from Pope Francis for developing gratitude and reverence:
- Pray before and after meals to inspire thankfulness for the food we receive.
- Cultivate a spirit of gratitude and awe at the beauty of the earth. Choose some seemingly simple object, and consider its complexity and grandeur. Choose a different piece of creation every day.
SUPPORT THE PARIS AGREEMENT. A decision on whether the U.S. will remain in the Paris Agreement on Climate Change will happen any day. You have the chance to ensure we do. Take a moment to send this letter to President Trump, Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, and your U.S. House Representative. Or reach them via Capitol Switchboard 202-224-3121.
“It is the poor and vulnerable who disproportionately suffer from the effects of climate change, such as hurricanes, floods, drought, famine, and water scarcity. These impacts of climate change threaten to foster even more desperation and suffering in the world that could lead to greater global instability and unrest.
“It is our moral duty, and in our national interest, to honor our pledge in the Paris Agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and assist the poor and vulnerable among us to adapt.”
Tell your elected officials that you want the U.S. to take leadership in reducing worldwide green-house gas emissions and help poor nations adapt to the impact of climate change.
Why buying “stuff” is a moral act. We who live in the U.S. use a far greater share of Earth’s resources than others. While Jesus was on earth, He modeled a life based on simplicity, and love of God and neighbor. He entrusted us–his followers–to carry on his work.
“The greatness of any nation is revealed in its effective care of society’s most vulnerable members – women, children, the elderly, the sick, the disabled and minorities – lest any person or social group be excluded or marginalized.” Pope Francis, Address to Gov’t Authorities and the Diplomatic Corps, April 28, 2017
Thus: “Purchasing is always a moral – and not simply economic – act. Today, in a word, the issue of environmental degradation challenges us to examine our lifestyle.” Pope Francis, Laudato Sí
Are we willing to —
- Buy smaller, more fuel-efficient cars and homes?
- Trade in our electronics less frequently?
- Eat sustainably?
- Waste less of our food?
- Shop less?
- Use fewer disposable items?
Choose one change and try to make it a new habit.
Think Twice Before Shopping. “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.” Every product we purchase has an environmental footprint, from the materials used to create it to the pollution emitted during manufacturing to the packaging that ends up in landfills. So, before you buy, ask yourself if you really need that new item. If you do, consider buying gently used instead of new, and look for minimal packaging and shipping.
- See “The Story of Stuff” under the Movies tab at storyofstuff.org
- Read about the Zero Waste movement at ecocycle.org
Consider Pope Francis’s words:
“When people become self-centered and self-enclosed, their greed increases. The emptier a person’s heart is, the more he or she needs things to buy, own and consume…..” Laudato Sí
Called to Care for Our Common Home. Sometimes it’s easier to ignore environmental challenges like climate change when they seem too big and overwhelming to fix. In his encyclical, Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home, Pope Francis teaches:
God, who calls us to generous commitment and to give him our all, offers us the light and the strength needed to continue on our way. In the heart of this world, the Lord of life, who loves us so much, is always present. He does not abandon us, he does not leave us alone; his love constantly impels us to find new ways forward.
In addition to taking some personal steps to reduce your own carbon footprint, contact our US Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and your U.S. House Representative (reach them via Capitol Switchboard 202-224-3121). Tell them that you want the United States to take leadership in reducing worldwide green-house gas emissions and provide the help necessary for poor nations to adapt to the impact of climate change.
May 21—Easter Season:
Called to Care for Our Common Home. While Jesus was on earth he modeled a life based on simplicity and love of God and neighbor. Jesus entrusted us, his followers, to carry on his work. “Purchasing is always a moral – and not simply economic – act. Today, in a word, the issue of environmental degradation challenges us to examine our lifestyle.” (Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home).
We who live in the United States use a far greater share of the earth’s resources than others. Are we willing to —
- Buy smaller more fuel-efficient cars and homes?
- Trade in our electronics less frequently?
- Shop less?
- Eat sustainably?
- Waste less food?
- Use fewer disposable items?
Choose one change and try to make it a new habit.
“Ultimately, true development is measured by concern for human beings…. The greatness of any nation is revealed in its effective care of society’s most vulnerable members – women, children, the elderly, the sick, the disabled and minorities – lest any person or social group be excluded or marginalized.” Pope Francis, Address to Government Authorities and the Diplomatic Corps, April 28, 2017
May 7—Easter Season:
Advocate for Environmental Protections. Pope Francis teaches, “The entire material universe speaks of God’s love, his boundless affection for us. Soil, water, mountains, everything is, as it were, a caress of God” [Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home]. The earth is our home given to us by God, who trusts us to care for this gift for ourselves and future generations. A presidential executive order earlier this year rescinded and weakened many environmental protections. Bishop Frank J. Dewane, chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, stated in response, “With this recent order, the Administration risks damage to our air, our waters and, most importantly, our people, particularly the poor and vulnerable, without proposing a concrete and adequate approach to meet our stewardship obligations as a nation.” Please contact the White House at 202-456-1111 or www.whitehouse.gov to advocate for policies that curb greenhouse gas emissions.
“I encourage the financial experts and the political leaders of your countries to consider the words of Saint John Chrysostom: ‘Not to share one’s goods with the poor is to rob them and to deprive them of life. It is not our goods that we possess, but theirs.'” Pope Francis, 5/16/13
For Lent, consider fasting from some resources that harm the environment. Here are weekly consumer fasts that promote a sense of solidarity with people whose poverty keeps them from consuming:
Lenten Week 6 & Holy Week:
Called to Care for Our Common Home. April 23 is Divine Mercy Sunday. “Every Christian community is called to go out of itself and be engaged with the society of which it is a part. Dear brothers and sisters, how greatly I desire that all those places where the Church is present, especially our parishes, will become islands of mercy in the midst of a sea of indifference.” [Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home]
The Easter season renews our hope and invites us to live in a spirit of love, mercy, thanksgiving……ready to respond to the challenges of our time with a deep faith. Global climate change is a challenge that demands our response now – for the sake of our children, future generations, and the poor, who will be most harshly impacted.
Learn about the global impact of climate change – rent the documentary, Before the Flood, or check out other National Geographic videos. Think about how our everyday choices may be causing earth’s climate to change. Are we indifferent to global climate change? Earth Day is observed every April 22. Decide this weekend to take one small step to care for the earth and each other.
“May the Church be a place of God’s mercy and hope, where all feel welcomed, loved, forgiven, and encouraged to live according to the good life of the Gospel. And to make others feel welcomed, loved, forgiven, and encouraged, the Church must be with doors wide open so that all may enter. And we must go out through these doors and proclaim the Gospel.” Pope Francis, 6/12/13
Lenten Week 5: The 8th Work of Mercy
Showing Mercy to Our Common Home. In his message “Show Mercy to our Common Home,” Pope Francis named caring for our common home as a new act of mercy, along with feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked, and the other corporal and spiritual acts of mercy.
“…if we look at the works of mercy as a whole, we see that the object of mercy is human life itself and everything it embraces. Obviously ‘human life itself and everything it embraces’ includes care for our common home. So let me propose a complement to the two traditional sets of seven: May the works of mercy also include care for our common home.”
Since Earth Day, April 22, and Divine Mercy Sunday, April 23, occur on the same weekend, it’s a perfect opportunity to practice both a spiritual and corporal work of mercy towards our common home. Pope Francis suggests “grateful contemplation” and “simple daily gestures which break with the logic of violence, exploitation and selfishness” and “makes itself felt in every action that seeks to build a better world”
Lenten Week 4: Consumer Fast
Fasting from Hopelessness. Responding to climate change can feel overwhelming — how much difference can one person make by changing lightbulbs? But individual actions are essential if we are going to leave behind a viable planet for our children and our grandchildren. Those actions must include both personal conservation of resources and participation in a public movement to insist that our leaders do their part. Public demonstrations may be outside your normal comfort zone, but love — of children, of grandchildren, of the beauty of the earth, of our Creator — compels us to take courageous steps. Choose your first step:
1. Call your Senators and Representative and let them know that their support for environmental protections and honoring the Paris Agreement will affect your vote in the next elections. Sen. Schumer: 263-5866. Sen. Gillibrand: 263-6250. Rep. Slaughter 232-4850. Rep. Collins: 519-4002
2. Join a local group that is committed to environmental protection. Two possibilities: Mothers Out Front, or the Rochester People’s Climate Coalition.
3. Start or join a “Care of Creation” or “St. Francis Team” in your own parish. [Note: We are launching just such a group. Check out our page “Focus on the Environment.“]
4. Follow Pope Francis’ advice that Catholics “go out into the streets” and participate in the local or national March for Science on April 22 and/or People’s Climate March on April 29. Bring a parish banner and join the Catholic contingent. Posters and information about buses here.
“During this Jubilee Year, let us learn to implore God’s mercy for those sins against creation that we have not hitherto acknowledged and confessed. Let us likewise commit ourselves to taking concrete steps towards ecological conversion, which requires a clear recognition of our responsibility to ourselves, our neighbours, creation and the Creator (ibid., 10 and 229).” Pope Francis, Show Mercy to Our Common Home 9/1/16
Lenten Week 3: Consumer Fast
Fasting from Food Waste. A United Nations report tells us that “In the USA, 30-40% of the food supply is wasted, equaling more than 20 pounds of food per person per month.” Not only does wasting food deprive the world’s hungry of essential calories, the methane produced by its decomposition adds a potent greenhouse gas to the atmosphere. In addition, the water, fertilizer and energy used in producing, packaging and transporting the food has gone to waste. What to do?
The U.N. encourages us to Think-Eat-Save. Think about how food gets wasted in your home and plan ahead to eliminate waste. Eat consciously—bring home restaurant leftovers; freeze food before it goes bad; get creative with food you have before you buy more. Save money, resources and health by being aware of how you spend your food dollars.
Donate what you save to CRS Rice Bowl. Advocate for hungry people: Click here
“Consumerism and a ‘culture of waste’ have led some of us to tolerate the waste of precious re-sources, including food, while others are literally wasting away from hunger. I ask all of you to reflect on this grave ethical problem in a spirit of solidarity grounded in our common responsibility for the earth and for all our brothers and sisters in the human family.” Pope Francis, Laudato Si
Lenten Week 2: Consumer Fast
Fasting from Water Waste. Even in our region where we enjoy abundant lakes and rainfall, water conservation is becoming increasingly important as the effects of climate change even impact our temperate weather. Lent also calls us to be aware of the suffering of the many people who do not have ready access to clean water. A good Lenten practice is to increase awareness of the ways we use and waste water resources. Simple habits like not letting the water run while brushing your teeth or shaving can save gallons a day. Heating and purifying water both take energy, so use cold water for things like rinsing dishes and rainwater for outside watering when possible. For more tips, see More Ways to Save Water
“…access to safe drinkable water is a basic and universal human right, since it is essential to human survival and, as such, is a condition for the exercise of other human rights. Our world has a grave social debt towards the poor who lack access to drinking water, because they are denied the right to a life consistent with their inalienable dignity.” Pope Francis, Laudato Si
Lenten Week 1: Think Twice Before Shopping
“Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” is just as important today as when the phrase was first coined. Every product we purchase has an environmental footprint, from the materials used to create it to the pollution emitted during manufacturing to the packaging that ends up in landfills. So, before you buy, ask yourself if you really need it. If you do, consider buying gently used instead of new, and look for minimal packaging and shipping.
“When people become self-centered and self-enclosed, their greed increases. The emptier a person’s heart is, the more he or she needs things to buy, own and consume…. Obsession with a consumerist lifestyle, above all when few people are capable of maintaining it, can only lead to violence and mutual destruction.” Pope Francis, Laudato Si
For more information about social ministry, or about the Social Ministry Committee, call the Cluster office and leave a message for the committee chairperson, Mary Lisa Sisson. Call: 473-9656