US Catholic Faith in Real Life

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.

This land is our land: National parks protect God's creation for all

By Patrick McCormick | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Would you like a demonstration of the Catholic belief that everyone has a right to the beauty of God's creation? Visit a national park.

This October millions of Americans took a stay-cation by watching Ken Burns' gorgeous new film The National Parks: America's Best Idea, enjoying a 12-hour pilgrimage through some of the most beautiful places in the United States, perhaps on the planet.

When enough is enough

By Kevin Clarke | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Why a future of endless economic growth is not the cure for what ails the earth.

After wandering around an academic wilderness for 30 or so years, a fella might be forgiven for indulging in a little schadenfreude before the spectacle of the West’s recent mind-bending fall from grace. But University of Maryland professor Herman Daly, a veritable John the Baptist of alt-economics, has a little trouble savoring the sudden relevance of his long-neglected theories of sustainable economics.

Some bright ideas for Earth Day

By Sarah Sharp | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

Sometimes I think I'm a bad daughter-I'm often too busy to think much about my mother and I'm certainly too busy to call home more than a couple of times a month. But I suppose my own mother is lucky for getting a call every couple of weeks.

Mother Earth may only hear from her kids once a year on Earth Day, celebrated throughout much of the world on April 22. On this day we broaden the interpretation of the 4th Commandment to "Honor your father and mother" and remember the earthy mater who cradles all creation in her arms.

The Canticle of the Sun

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In honor of Earth Day, let’s hear from one of the great saints of our church about the wonders of creation. Be sure to share this prayer with your children. 

By St. Francis of Assisi

Most high, all powerful, all good Lord! All praise is yours, all glory, all honor, and all blessing. To you, alone, Most High, do they belong. No mortal lips are worthy to pronounce your name.

41 bright ideas for going green

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The earth is warming and we are responsible. This is the undeniable conclusion reached by 2,000 scientists and policy experts contributing to the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the winners of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize along with Al Gore.

Special Section: The environment

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Article Culture

Climate change, nonrenewable resources, mountain top removal. When it comes to the environment, the earth is getting the short end of the stick. As Earth Day approaches this April, our home planet can be a ball of confusion. What should we do? What shouldn't we do? Here are some ideas and resources to help you sort it all out—and recycle it!