Sisters of St. Joseph of CarondeletOctober 17, 2017

Earth Concerns News

Pray and Act To Reduce Our Carbon Footprint by Sister Betsy Van Deusen, CSJ


Attending a premier showing of a movie called "The Age of Stupid" is not necessarily what I might call a great night out, but it reiterated for me so much of what we, as members of the Home/Land Committee have been writing and speaking about for a long time. Our focus this year will be the climate crisis and what we can do to decrease our carbon footprint; that is, how much carbon our actions emit into the atmosphere. The global goal is 350 parts per million (ppm) in the atmosphere. Presently we are at 385.92 ppm; so we have work to do!

Lin Neil and I went to Crossgates Mall (which neither one of us would have done for a lesser cause!) to see this world premier which hoped to raise the consciousness of people in 700 sites around the globe. The movie was directed by Franny Armstrong and produced by Lizzie Gillett. The setting is the devastated world of 2055 with Pete Postlethwaite as an old man, watching archive footage from 2008 and asking, "Why didn't we stop climate change while we had the chance?" I left feeling sad, angry, impassioned and committed to working a little harder to make a difference.
 
An offshoot from the movie is the 10:10 Campaign that encourages individuals, organizations, churches, businesses and governments to commit to lowering their carbon emission by 10% by 2010 and yes, in just one year. However, if we do lower the emission, we will come very close, if not surpass the 350 goal! These efforts are leading up to the Global Summit that will take place in Copenhagen in December of this year when world leaders will have the opportunity to commit to decreasing emissions and saving Earth. Please pray and write to our leaders to "do the right thing.
 
What can I do? What can you do? Consider taking the St. Francis Pledge:
 
I/We 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 as individuals and in our families, parishes and other affiliations, 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 these discussions and decisions impact those who are poor or vulnerable. 
Check out the Catholic Coalition on Climate Change for other ideas such as the following: 
  • Use power strips. Shutting down just one computer and monitor system can save up to $100 annually.
  • Turn off the lights! If a room goes empty for even a few minutes, turn off the lights and save energy. Install light fixtures with automatic sensors to save money and energy!
  • Plant a tree. In addition to providing beauty and shade, trees help absorb carbon dioxide! Just one tree can absorb thirteen pounds of carbon dioxide per year.
  • Eat less meat. Cutting back even slightly on meat consumption will help decrease the large amounts of greenhouse-gas emissions caused in meat production, and we can stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters who live in poverty.
  • Say no to paper and plastic bags. Carry reusable grocery bags to the store. Many stores are starting to give cash back for using your own bags. When one ton of plastic bags is reused or recycled, the energy equivalent of eleven barrels of oil is saved.
  • Use smart bulbs. New florescent light bulbs are much more efficient and last thousands of hours longer than the old incandescent ones lasted. Replacing five incandescent light bulbs could save you up to $60 in annual energy costs!
  • Start composting. Organize a composting committee. You will help your parish or school reduce waste and provide fertilizer for learning gardens at the same
  • Come to the Home/Land Event connecting us to worldwide efforts on October 24 with www.350.org.
  • Prayerfully consider what you can do, what your local community can do, so that we can meet the 10:10 goal as individuals, as a province and as a congregation!