Our lifestyle and choices affect other people and the environment. We do not live in isolation even when we think that we are making private, personal, and individual acts or decisions that do not involve others. Our action and inaction have consequences on others and the world around us.
As consumers in today’s world, it can be overwhelming to make purchasing decisions that have less of a negative impact on others and the environment, as it is not as simple as it seems. For example, not all recyclables are the same. Not everything labeled as “made from recyclable materials” is actually 100% made from recyclable materials as these materials degrade in quality over time. And just because it’s recyclable doesn’t mean it’s actually being recycled especially when these products do not make their way to the recycling facilities. Recycling materials also require so much energy to process that reusing might be a better alternative to recycling. Our heads spin… we can easily burn out and give up.
In order to make good and responsible choices that support our lifestyle, it is beneficial to understand the concept of circular economy. Watch this six-minute video and learn to see beyond the products as you understand their life cycle and their impact on people and the environment.
"Consumerism has led us to become used to an excess and daily waste of food, to which, at times we are no longer able to give a just value. Throwing away food is like stealing from the table of the poor and the hungry." Pope Francis, 2013.
About 17 percent of global food production may go wasted, according to the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Food Waste Index Report 2021, with 61% of this waste coming from households, 26% from food service and 13% from retail.
As a good steward of our resources, we are called to do our part to reduce food waste by being more conscious of our choices and actions.
Seven quick reminders:
Even the smallest actions: reflecting on food waste, avoiding overbuying, mindful of leftovers - are movements in the right direction, sowing the seeds of change.
“It is a return to that simplicity which allows us to stop and appreciate the small things, to be grateful for the opportunities which life affords us, to be spiritually detached from what we possess, and not to succumb to sadness for what we lack.” Laudato Si' #222
"The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it." Genesis 2:1-14.
We are called to take meaningful actions to care for God's creation. If you are unsure of where to start, here are 5 ideas to consider this spring:
There are many simple and creative ways “to protect the earth and to ensure its fruitfulness for coming generations” (Laudato Si’ 67). Find more action items in Laudato Si' Week 2022 Celebration Guide (May 22-29, 2022).
Here are 5 small individual actions that help save you gas, build community, and can have a huge impact for our earth:
Pope Benedict XVI reminded us that our environment is God's gift to all people, and the use we make of it entail a shared responsibility for all humanity, especially the poor and future generations.
"We are all responsible for the protection and care of the environment. This responsibility knows no boundaries. In accordance with the principle of subsidiarity it is important for everyone to be committed at his or her proper level, working to overcome the prevalence of particular interests." (2010)
Everything starts with a small step.
"A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.”
Catholic Pastoral Centre Staff and Guest Writers