Green transformation in our communities
POPE Francis’ Laudato Si’ encyclical encourages personal and institutional (much more so communitarian) response on ecological transformation. In this age of global ecological crisis, the transformative experience to combat this damaging crisis is necessary. Our relevance is needed then. We make our communities as our site of struggle. “The work of the Church seeks not only to remind everyone of the duty to care for nature, but at the same time she must above all protect mankind from self-destruction…” (Pope Francis, Laudato Si’ #79)
Our communities should take part in a global action to protect the planet. The challenge of Pope Francis starts from little actions that are truly transformative to a greater and sustaining actions that impact humanity. We call this ‘green actions’ proposed by Pope Francis in Laudato Si’ (LS #211):
- avoiding the use of plastic and paper
- reducing water consumption
- separating refuse (segregation)
- cooking only what can reasonably be consumed
- showing care for other living beings
- using public transport or car-pooling (walk or ride a bike)
- planting trees
- turning off unnecessary lights
If we live up these ‘green actions’ Pope Francis has this to say: “All of these reflect a generous and worthy creativity which brings out the best in human beings… can be an act of love which expresses our own dignity.” (LS #211)
From these ‘green actions’ we are challenged to make our communities ‘eco communities,’ our parishes into ‘eco-parishes,’ our schools into ‘eco-schools’ and possibly adopt an ‘eco-ministry’ into our congregations. The ‘green actions’ are simple yet basic of doing ordinary ecological actions that will protect our Mother Earth. We are doing this at home, we are already doing it in our convents. Let us make this ‘green actions’ be part of the ordinariness of our life and happen again in our communities.
Pope Francis envisions a clean world not a world of ‘filth’ but a world that is ecologically sustainable. We need a checklist to be able to make eco-communities:
- Energy (energy use, energy efficiency, renewable energy initiatives) –Are we conserving energy? Are we using energy efficient utilities and appliances? Are we transitioning to renewable energy (using solar or wind energy)? Are we managing our electric consumption (and doing inventory of our energy use) Are we computing our carbon footprint?
- Water — Are we practicing water conservation? Are we regulating our water usage? Do we have a rainwater catchment/storage facility? (for washing and for gardening).
- Waste — Are we conducting waste inventory? Are we practicing recycling-at-source? Do we have a recycling facility? Are we buying (purchasing) recyclable products? Are we minimizing our waste impact?
- Transport — Are we monitoring our fuel use ? Do we encourage the use of public transport? Are we investing on energy-efficient transport?
- Farming — Do we have a community vegetable garden or community farm? Are we practicing to grow organic vegetables? Are our gardens and farms sustainably growing organic food?
- Eco-formation — Are we integrating ecological education in our formation exercises? Are we creating spaces for ecological integration? Do we involve our cooperators in our eco-formation programs?
- Eco-action — Are we actively participating in mobilization and direct action involving environmental issues? Are we supporting grassroots communities affected and impacted by environmental issues, abuses and violations? Are we sharing our resources to support areas of struggle?
The Global Catholic Climate Movement is suggesting the Laudato Si’ Pledge: a) Pray for and with creation, b) Live more simply, c) Advocate to protect our common home.
Let us collectively make a pledge and make it happen in our communities. (You can sign the Laudato Si’ Pledge http://livelaudatosi.org)
May this eco-transformation be a kind of transfiguration moment in our communities, let us green our communities.