Green Junction: “We should rejoice when we sacrifice.” By Julie Peller Ph.D.

I extend warm wishes of joy and peace this Christmas and New Year to all of you.

I recently read that “we should rejoice when we sacrifice, giving something back to God or to someone whose needs are greater than ours.” This beautiful sentiment can be extended to creation. The someone can be Mother Earth: the land, air, and water that have experienced significant abuses by mankind, especially since the industrial revolution and in present-day society.  Another recent contemplation on environmental care stated that “every effort to protect the climate and every moment spent in prayer is worthwhile.”  

The news from the scientific community continues to raise red flags about the increasing carbon dioxide and other manmade greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the overuse of chemicals that contaminate air, soil, and water, the unprecedented loss of species, and other exploitations of nature.  Natural resources – God’s gifts – are essential for our youth and future generations.

While governments work to satisfy the needs and desires of people, how often are people asked to sacrifice on behalf of the natural world and humanity? Most people have responded to the requests of leaders to be vaccinated and follow other public health policies that protect one another throughout the pandemic. However, many have vehemently resisted – not willing to sacrifice and missing out on the joy of helping one another. 

Given the ongoing rise in waste/contamination, greenhouse gases, and other exploitations of nature, have you considered making a few sacrifices to address the needs of the earth and humanity?  The new year provides an opportunity to sacrifice and rejoice on behalf of Our Common Home at a time when it is in great need. In Colossians 3:12, “Put on, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.”

Julie Peller Ph.D. 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 ~6 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.

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