Sisters of St. Joseph of CarondeletJune 27, 2022

Earth Concerns News

Jubilee Suggestions for the Earth Community

by Anne Tranelli, CSJ and Lin Neil, CSJ

Jubilee is always a time of great celebration, and we CSJs have much to celebrate in the lives of our 47 jubilarians! Traditionally, when the jubilee year was proclaimed, the celebration was extended to the entire community. The land, animals, slaves and the Hebrews were called to rest, to reconcile with one another and to rejoice in the bounty of creation:

The Lord said to Moses at Mount Sinai,“Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you enter the land I am going to give you, the land itself must observe a Sabbath to the Lord. For six years sow your fields, and for six years prune your vineyards and gather their crops, but in the seventh year the land is to have a year of Sabbath rest, a Sabbath to the Lord. Do not sow your fields or prune your vineyards. Do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the grapes of your untended vines. The land is to have a year of rest. Whatever the land yields during the Sabbath year will be food for you—for yourself, your male and female servants and the hired worker and temporary resident who live among you, as well as for your livestock and the wild animals in your land. Whatever the land produces may be eaten ... Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants.” (Leviticus 25: 1-7, 10)

As we celebrate our jubilees, we will plan and prepare; we will look for the perfect card, the perfect gift, and we will do this with great love and care. In all our preparations, we are called to ask the question, “How does this decision/action impact the Earth community?” There are so many creative ways to honor a jubilarian by blessing someone less fortunate. A few suggestions include the following: donations to Habitat for Humanity International, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and Catholic Charities, USA. In keeping with our province focus, a donation to your local food pantry, Bread for the World or Heifer International are great choices. Heifer helps people to feed themselves in ways that are ecologically sustainable. Ten Thousand Villages in Stuyvesant Plaza has lovely gifts that are fairly traded. For those who not in the Albany area, the store is also online at Equal Exchange Fair-Trade coffee, tea or chocolate is also a great place to buy delicious gifts at The Nature Conservancy has a program called “Give the Gift of Nature” which features “Adopt an acre or a coral reef.” The Conservancy will send an adoption certificate and six issues of its magazine to acknowledge the gift.

Our jubilee parties can also reflect an Earth consciousness. The best choices are reusable plates, cups, flatware etc., but it is not always possible to have the “real thing.” We can choose disposable plates, cups and cutlery that are Earth friendly. Styrofoam, although very inexpensive, is very bad for the environment and not healthy for the users because it gives off toxic chemicals. Plastics are made with petroleum and use a lot of resources in the recycling process, and that is only if someone takes the responsibility to make sure they are collected separately and put into recycling containers! A company called Ecoproducts makes plates, bowls, cups and cutlery from sustainable, plant-based materials. These items are sturdy and elegant and can be composted, if the process is available to you. If not, at least the products are made from materials like sugar cane which do not harm Earth, even though they will spend a long time in a landfill. Here is important information from their website:

“Creating planet-friendly disposable products means, first and foremost, finding ways to make awesome products with the fewest virgin natural resources as possible. The way we see it, a sustainable product is that which has the least impact on the planet throughout its lifespan—from creation, through life, to disposal or reclamation. Is there such a thing as a completely sustainable disposable cup? No, there isn't. We don't have any. Neither, for that matter, does anyone else. Most traditional plastic food service products are made with foam, polystyrene, or polyethylene — plastics which are made with petroleum, or oil. Today we need all the oil we have to do more important things, like build renewable energy infrastructure and fuel the transition to a more sustainable world. So your disposable cup, a product that you spend mere minutes with and then toss, is not the best use of this extremely valuable resource. As a result, we're pushing the boundaries of what is possible in disposables. Better materials, fewer and fewer virgin plastics, and more transparency as a business. We're not afraid to get our hands dirty, not if it means we can make something better tomorrow than we did today.

Yes, these products are a bit more expensive, but we pay the extra; the Earth doesn’t! In these ways the Earth community, all of us together, gets to celebrate the true spirit of Jubilee!