What do you consider faith-based responsibilities for environmental care? How many times have you even pondered this question? When geese land gracefully in the local pond where they bathe and feed, do we feel a responsibility to ensure the water is free of pesticides and other harmful substances? When rabbits and squirrels run through yards and nibble on grass and plants, where our children and pets play in the grass, do we consider the potential harm from chemicals that are commonly used to kill unwanted plants? Maybe these are the types of questions that need to be considered and discussed more frequently by those who believe in the sanctity of the earth and the need to protect life.
Society has created environmental injustices, such as polluted air and water, massive waste and climate change, much of which goes unnoticed. The good news is that humans can solve these problems. When people make the decision to care for others, including all of God’s creatures, good things happen. Numerous environmental groups and ministries pray, organize and carry out actions to address the environmental degradation caused by human behaviors. Consider taking the time to learn more about environmental degradation, excessive material use, climate change through internet resources, local groups, webinars and other means.
News outlets that cover information on the environment include the National Geographic, Smithsonian, and Grist Magazine, while the National Geographic Society, the Nature Conservancy and the Sierra Club are national organizations involved in care for the earth. Government labs, such as NASA and NOAA offer informational websites, and many foundations such as the Acorn Foundation, the Conservation Alliance and the Monarch Butterfly Fund support programs to heal the environment. This is a small list of these important entities, and there are many local organizations.
One way to learn more about current environmental efforts/projects at Nativity of Our Savior (In Portage IN) is to visit the Environmental Ministry’s booth at the church festival, which runs from July 11th through the 14th. We will provide information about the greatest challenges to the environment and pass out free bookmarks that include a number of ways to be part of the solution to environmental problems. We will have a display for kids to explore the microscopic world of organisms. We encourage attendees to bring a reusable water bottle to the festival or purchase one at our booth. The ministry will provide cold water and recycling containers.
Julie Peller PhD, is an environmental chemist (Professor of Chemistry at Valparaiso University ) and she leads the Environmental Ministry at Nativity of Our Savior in Portage IN. Julie has been writing a weekly column for church bulletins for the past ~5 years called the Green Junction and is helping to move the call of Laudato Si to action forward. Her Research Interests are in: Advanced oxidation for aqueous solutions, water quality analyses, emerging contaminants, air quality analyses, Lake Michigan shoreline challenges (Cladophora, water and sediment contaminants), student and citizen participation in environmental work.