US Catholic Faith in Real Life

It's easy being green when building a church

By Judith Dupré| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Your Faith
It's not as difficult—or expensive—as you might think to build a green parish.

Church design is evolving as people reawaken to the ancient wisdom that the environment is a series of exquisite interconnections. Forward-looking congregations are building and renovating in ways that reflect the belief that God resides in the world and all creation resides within God.

Parks and re-Creation

By Megan Sweas| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
A group of young people in the Bronx finds that by beautifying an old eyesore, they’ve unleashed a desire to serve their community.

David Shuffler walks through the park that he helped build in the South Bronx on his way to work.

Grass and young trees line his path through Concrete Plant Park, named after the factory that was once on the site. Some of the old factory structures remain—but they’ve been transformed into public art.

Don't be crude: End our oil addiction

By Dan Misleh| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Justice
It’s time to get the petroleum monkey off our backs.

Take the next exit: Avoid an economic traffic jam

By Kevin Clarke| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
When it comes to economic growth, the express lanes are closed.

You've probably heard friends complain about tie-ups in Los Angeles or Chicago or New York that transform already long commutes into sweaty practice runs for purgatory. But nothing compares to what motorists recently endured on a roadway heading into Beijing in August's mother-of-all traffic jams: an 11-day, diesel-clouded snarl, stretching more than 62 miles and entrapping thousands of trucks and motorists trying in vain to snail into China's capital city.

Problem children: Making trouble for Mother Earth

By Bryan Cones| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Mother Earth can’t take much more of her human offspring’s hell-raising.

Scientists tell us that, by their count, the universe is somewhere between 13 and 14 billion years old, with the earth coming in at somewhere between 5 and 6 billion. According to traditional Jewish reckoning, on the other hand, creation is celebrating a much more modest 5,771 years this September 9.

Working for the common grid

By Kevin Clarke| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Reducing our collective carbon footprint can be as easy as plugging in.

In the old days all the cool guys and gals who wanted to show up “the man” devoted a lot of their creative geekiness to figuring out ways to get “off the grid,” devising Rube Goldberg-ish mechanicals and homemade micro-tech geared to living outside the nation’s energy infrastructure. It was laudable self-reliance—sometimes run amok—but it belongs to another age.

Our Lady of Waste Management: Parish-based environmentalism

By Kristen Hannum| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Parishes are finding that reducing their carbon footprint is not only an environmental issue but a spiritual one, too.

Parishioners at Mary Immaculate Church in East Los Angeles meet monthly in convivencias, or town hall meetings, to discuss parish initiatives. Last autumn, when they learned that 38 million water bottles annually are sent to U.S. landfills, their vote on what the parish should do wasn't even close. Plastic water bottles are now banned from the campus.

Why should parishes go green?

By Kristen Hannum| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Your Faith
Five reasons Catholic communities should care about cleaning up the environment.

1. You don't have to believe in climate change to believe in its solution. Energy conservation and alternative energy use mean healthier children, improved national security, and lower heating and cooling bills for families and parishes. It's a "no regrets" strategy.

Religious by nature: An interview with Keith Warner, OFM on the environment

By A U.S. Catholic interview| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
A Franciscan environmental activist recycles some ancient traditions for modern use. 

[Read more about St. Francis, patron of ecology.]

Hundreds of years before the environmental movement, St. Francis of Assisi recognized God in creation and changed his life. Today one of his spiritual sons, Keith Douglass Warner, O.F.M., is encouraging Catholics to do the same.

Derek Eisel: Protecting the environment

By Michelle Bearden| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

Growing up in northern Virginia, Derek Eisel had a front-row seat to a changing world.

He watched forests cut down and bucolic pasture land paved over into suburbs. He was told it was "progress," but he wasn't buying it.

The effect it had on a young Eisel changed the course of his life. He believes watching nature disappear is when the seeds of his environmental activism were planted.

"It bothered me then, and it bothers me now," says Eisel, 36, a Seattle software manager developer.