Earth Day 2021
By Sister Sara Dwyer, ASC
Restore Our Earth, this year’s theme for Earth Day, is one that captures an Adorer’s heart. It resonates deep in our spirituality. Our “adoring and redeeming” stance toward all of life, invites us every day to engage in what “restores” God’s “beautiful order” for all of Creation: nature and human beings.
It is not a program, a walk, a march or a short-term practice but rather a constant and conscious commitment, and for Adorers, it is life-long.
Pope Francis, in his encyclical, Laudato Si, challenged all Christians and people of good will to an “ecological conversion,” a conversion of heart, mind and life-style that would move us toward wholeness and holiness. It is a profoundly spiritual conversion, what Francis calls “an ecological conversion whereby the effects of their encounter with Jesus Christ become evident in their relationship with the world around them.”
We cannot only pray. We must act, each in her or his own way, to “restore” the right relationships among people and all living things. We cannot continue to focus on “human primacy,” that is, act without concern for how our decisions and their consequences impact Earth, air, water and soil as well as all living things. We are part of an ecosystem, but not its owner. We must learn, from St. Paul’s Christological hymns (Phil 2; Col 1:15-17; Eph 1:3-10) and the Prologue to St. John’s Gospel (John1:1-18), the interdependent relationship among the Creation, Redemption and Incarnation because it is said that “God so loved the world (not just us), God sent his only Son (John 3:16).
Restore Our Earth is an imperative. It demands a response. Here are some suggested actions. May they inspire you to come up with your own.
- Join the Catholic Climate Covenant and from its website, catholicclimatecovenant.org, download and listen to a recording of Earth Day events.
- View the film, “The Condor and the Eagle,” https://thecondorandtheeagle.com/
- Start a Laudato Si Circle through Global Catholic Climate Movement and use its resources for community discussion and actions.
- Plant a pollinator garden using a water-saving soaker hose.
- Monitor/limit your use of water and single-use plastics by carrying your own cloth or silicone grocery bags and stainless steel cups. Remember to reuse, reduce, recycle, replenish and restore.
- Subscribe to the action alert e-newsletter of Green America (www.greenamerica.org) for resources.
- Use green and sustainable products such as Seventh Generation.
- Learn more about sustainable alternative energy sources, especially wind and solar.
- Advocate for an end to the use of fossil fuels and their pipelines, deforestation, and strip mining.
- Read “Journeying Toward Care For Our Common Home, 5 Years After Laudato Si” by the Interdicasterial Working Group of the Holy See on Integral Ecology.
- Study “Creation and the Cross: The Mercy of God for a Planet in Peril” by Elizabeth Johnson in order to understand how we can move from an “appeasement theology” (appeasing an angry God because we sinned) to a more inclusive “accompaniment theology” (that reflects our belief that God sent Jesus Christ to teach us how to love).