The second goal of the Society Strategic Plan 2014-20 is to commit ourselves to seek a deeper understanding of creation and to exercise a practical concern for the ecological issues facing our planet.
Below are some of the actions the Society and its members are taking in response to the goal to continue to find practical ways of acting individually and corporately toward the care of creation, encouraging others to act with us.
In the African Province individuals and communities are trying to integrate Care of Our Common Home in our ministries, lifestyle and relationships. The following are some of the actions being taken.
1. We keep our own and school compounds clean and green by:
– replacing fertilizers with organic manure such as chicken droppings and using waste water from the fish pond for the growing of vegetables and other crops;
– practising shifting cultivation and planting crops such as maize, fruits and green vegetables;
– cutting down old trees and planting new ones, especially in eroded places.
2. We conserve resources by:
– reducing the use of, recycled or properly disposed of trash: paper, cans, sachets and plastics;
– using greener sources and reducing energy consumption where possible;
– channelling rain water into reservoirs.
3. We share good practice and raised awareness in our schools, as well as among our workers and others, especially about conserving energy and avoiding health hazards e.g. by clearing litter, not using polythene bags to wrap cooked food, advocating that trash not be burned by the roadside, removing raw salt from dining room tables. A club for students and teachers known as “Friends of the Environment” (FOTE) was formed in which students participate in several activities. Existing clubs and societies were encouraged to carry out a monthly cleaning exercise amidst singing and fun.
4. We collaborate with the media to educate others on healthy living and care of the environment e.g. through Bauchi Diocese Caritas Newspaper, Catholic Global Climate Movement and Lumen Christi Television Network.
5. We organise retreats and seminars on the Care of the Earth for groups such as the Knights of St. John, Family Care, Bible study groups, teachers in Catholic schools and parishioners.
6. Sisters have continued to study the document ‘Laudato Si’, sharing their reflections on the website and joining in the online celebration of the ‘Laudato Si’ week. Some participated in a workshop on Genetically Modified Organisms.
In the American Province, we renewed the province statement made in 2014, calling each sister to reflect on it and decide how she is being called to live it out this year. We printed copies of the statement and action suggestions on a bookmark for each sister, associate, employee and ministry director.
As a province, we continue to accomplish this goal in many ways:
1. We make countless unseen personal efforts.
2. We are advocates, writing letters and calling government offices to influence environmental policy at every level.
3. We have transferred to green energy in all our houses.
4. We did an initial study of Laudato Si’ throughout the province and with the provincial office staff.
5. We formed green committees at Holy Child Center and the provincial office to help us all to adopt ecological practices in our daily life and work on the New Sharon campus.
6. We developed a powerpoint presentation to use with the office staff for prayer and conversation on the World Day of Care for Creation, September 1, 2016.
7. We continue to have two province groups focused on the care of creation, practical action and spirituality – the EcoSpirituality and Evergreens groups.
Over the last few years members of the European Province have steadily raised our awareness of ecospirituality and ecological issues.
The province is investigating the use of greener energy, and one community in Oxford has already had solar energy panels installed on the roof of its home.
Our sisters in Blackpool are actively involved in the Blackpool Food Partnership, which feeds those in need while eliminating food waste in the city.
There also have been multiple presentations about the topic attended by our members. As communities and as individuals, we take the steps we can.
Each week, on our intranet, thanks to Sister Jean Newbold’s commitment, we have Planet Corner, an inspiration and encouragement to continue to inform ourselves of our call to awe and wonder at the universe. It also reminds us of the need for small but significant life changes that make us more creation-friendly.