March 13, 2019
The piece below appears in the Winter 2019 issue of SHCJ Associates Newsletter American Province. To learn more about Cornelia’s spirituality, read the Associates’ Newsletters by clicking here.
By Linda Tarney and Kay Rowan, Holy Child Associates, USA
As 2019 was approaching, I thought deeply about what my resolutions would be. After much deliberating, I came up with several, but will share with you my ecofriendly resolution. I am giving up deodorant. You may be wondering how is that going to help the environment. It will most likely smell up the environment. Well, I wanted to use less plastic and be exposed to fewer chemicals so I thought why don’t I start with all those plastic deodorant containers. So I found an alternative source in Australia, a stick of potassium alum crystal in a (World Wildlife fund approved) cork container. It contains no alcohol, perfumes, dyes, aluminum, or preservatives and the cork is 100% recyclable (or upscale) and biodegradable. It works for 24 hours and 1 container of the potassium alum crystal lasts twelve months. I shall see how it works and how longs it lasts.
In case you did not include an earth friendly resolution among yours, I have compiled with the use of Kyle Fitzpatrick’s article titled “5 Earth-friendly Resolutions You Can Actually-Easily-Keep in 2019” (first published on 12/19/18) some easy ways to be God’s good stewards in 2019 and beyond. These are environmental protecting resolutions you can start right now in 2019 or put into practice during your Lenten journey.
1. Use your own vessels when you go grocery shopping, grab a coffee or pick up your take home dinner. Did you know that plastic litter clutters our entire planet now? Take your own tote bags when you go shopping. Invest in a metal, glass or bamboo straw and a straw brush. Keep a reusable mug or tumbler in your car or office. Bringing your own vessels with you helps shift you away from society’s single use mentality.
2. Designate one day off from driving every week. Did you know that cars are the 5th biggest producer of emissions in the United States? One day a week work from home if permitted, car pool, ride-share pool, ride a bike or take a bus instead of driving your car to work.
3. Become a semi-vegetarian or flexitarian and save meat for the weekends. This is a wonderful Lenten practice, also. Did you know that the way food is produced today is a root cause of problems like deforestation, water shortages, and greenhouse gases? In 2019 (or for Lent) eat more legumes, vegetables, fruits and nuts instead of meat. These food types are better for your health and going vegetarian is a much cheaper lifestyle. Also, if you can’t cut out meat all together buy local meats to cut down on the carbon footprint of the food.
4. Switch all your lightbulbs to LED bulbs. Did you know that LED bulbs produce the same quality of light, but use 40% less energy than incandescent bulbs? Incandescent bulbs last up to 365 days while LED bulbs can last 25 years. LED bulbs do cost more initially than incandescent bulbs, but do save you money in the log run. “When used 8 hours a day, every day incandescent bulbs cost roughly $23 a year, whereas LEDs cost $4 a year.”
5. Start composting. Did you know that by composting you will keep organic waste out of landfills and help prevent the generation of greenhouse gases? In turn, this saves 277 lbs. of waste per person per year from going into the landfills. Basic composters start from $20, while worm-friendly composters can cost over $100. Begin your eco-friendly, sustainable resolution by committing to one lifestyle change and adding more when feasible. Make a plan and work with friends for support to keep your resolutions. Really, it is okay to make mistakes. Always remember that with work, perseverance, and support from the Spirit, family and friends you can keep your 2019 resolutions and get a little greener.
Now, how are you going to give back to God and His beautiful creations?
Wow! After reading Linda’s great article, Lent will definitely find me committing to at least one new earth friendly project! What will it be?
1. When I forget to take my own containers shopping I’ll remember to make sure those plastic bags go to a store that recycles them.
2. Carpooling? I no longer work but do volunteer and often join friends for lunch. More intentional carpooling could be a way to help here.
3. Giving up meat, at least on Fridays during Lent and perhaps the rest of the week is doable.
4. LED bulbs? We already changed out. Intentionally using less artificial light where possible sounds like a good next step.
5. I already compost just differently. I save all the peelings and scraps from my vegetables in a container in the freezer. When my container is full I boil it all up into a nice vegetable broth for soup and then dispose of a much smaller volume of leftovers.
I think I have my earth friendly Lenten resolutions in place!
Linda is right that we need support and inspiration from the Holy Spirit, from family and friends so choose someone to journey with you if you can and pray!
Here are some useful resources:
ecospiritualityresources.com – Terri MacKenzie offers two resources for Lent 2019, one on soil and one on Laudato Si’ as well as books, videos and other sites to try.
catholicclimatemovement.global – good resource for activities taking place around the world. They usually post
Lenten activities closer to Ash Wednesday.
Delio, Ilia, K. Warner, P. Wood, Care for Creation: A Franciscan Spirituality of the Earth. Paperback or Kindle edition. Each of the four sections of this wonderful book offers the reader insights to help nurture a Franciscan spirituality of the earth as well as prayers, meditations, spiritual practices and group activities to help reconnect with the earth.
Laudatosi.com At this Word on Fire site you can read the encyclical on the official Vatican website, download a PDF copy or order a paperback edition.