Green Junction is a weekly column from St. Maria Goretti Parish in Dyer, IN written by Julie Peller, PhD.
What is the lens through which you see the natural world? How often do you seek to understand God’s creation, the beauty and the abuse of nature? Have you made efforts to lessen your personal footprint on nature by reducing the amount of waste you produce, the amount of material items you purchase, the amount of fresh water you use? Have you chosen walking or biking or making fewer trips; sweeping, shoveling or raking, reducing your use of pesticides and other chemicals, reusing and recycling instead of throwing away? The choices we make are mostly due to our view of the gifts of creation (how much do we value them?) and our knowledge of the consequences of unsustainable lifestyles. Most people do not spend much time thinking of either.
Pope Francis and other faith leaders continually emphasize the need to sincerely and proactively address climate change, materialism, our detachment from other living creatures, all of which harm Creation and the most vulnerable among us. Taking care of the earth is a matter of great significance, a moral obligation, one that especially influences the world for future generations. Many young people view international cooperation on climate change as the key to their future. This past year has shown that solutions to immense global problems are possible when humankind cooperates on behalf of the greater good. While serious environmental problems can be viewed as overwhelming, they can also be seen as wonderfully incredible opportunities to come together as God’s children and work for the common good. These are not problems only for others, governments and/or businesses to address. These are human obligations to our Creator and opportunities to walk the path of compassion, faith and peace.
What is the view from your life’s lens, especially post-2020, in this New Year on climate change, environmental degradation, public health? Do any of your New Year’s goals consider youth and future generations in a way that you would hope others would do for you? New Year goals for personal improvement can extend to the healing of the environment and public health through individual choices and collective efforts. “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” (Nelson Mandela) Hope is what we create when we work together. Happy New Year.