Join us for this month of education, engagement, action and prayer as we examine the crisis that plastics are creating for our environment. Every day in July, we invite you to join us in an action–either a short educational piece or an activity to complete. You won’t need more than five minutes for each, and we hope it will inspire deeper ecological awareness and conversion.
You can find the calendar of actions on our Plastic Free July webpage.
We will be posting about the daily calls to action on our social media accounts and using the hashtag #PlasticFreeJuly. Some of our daily posts will feature videos of sisters and associates who have made changes in their plastic consumption. If you use Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter, you can help this online campaign reach more people by liking, commenting and sharing our posts.
HR 1512, The Climate Leadership and Environmental Action for our Nation’s (CLEAN) Future Act, introduced by Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), aims to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 in concert with the target identified by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to limit temperature increases to 1.5°C. These goals aim to avoid the most catastrophic consequences of climate change. Contact your Representatives and ask them to support this act using the tool below.
The CLEAN Future Act includes measures such as:
Promoting the modernization of recycling and waste management and aims to reduce waste generation.
The Sisters of St Joseph of Carondelet, together with our associates and partners, support the Break Free from Plastic Pollution Act of 2021 (BFFPPA). We are committed to responding to the crisis of Earth, which is increasingly worsened by plastic production and pollution. Contact your Senators and Representatives or send a letter to the editor of your local newspaper to show your support of this legislation.
We are deeply concerned that the United States produces the most plastic waste per capita of any country, an astounding 91% of which is never recycled. The U.S. has 4% of the world’s population but creates 12% of the world’s waste. Of the more than 350 million tons of plastic produced each year globally, 8 million tons wind up as plastic waste in the world’s oceans. Every year, the United States alone burns or buries in landfills 32 million tons of plastic, impacting the health of nearby communities. The petrochemical industry and its pollution disproportionately harm people of color and low-income communities where production plants choose to locate.
The Break Free from Plastic Pollution Act of 2021 builds on successful statewide laws across the country and outlines practical plastic reduction strategies to realize a healthier, more sustainable, and more equitable future. It will tackle the exploding crisis of plastic pollution and transform waste and recycling management in the United States. This legislation seeks to meaningfully address the plastic pollution crisis by:
This is a national and global issue. We strongly urge bipartisan cooperation to pass this bill.
From the Carondelet Earth Committee
Since we issued the invitation to you to lower and/or mitigate your carbon footprint in measurable ways, we have received a variety of reports on the steps that you have taken. Read on to learn the creative actions your sisters and associates have taken and resources that they recommend.
I looked up “carbon footprint” online and found some helpful information. I’m embarrassed to acknowledge I never quite grasped the meaning of that phrase. That’s why I looked it up and found useful info.
Things that make up your carbon footprint: all your food and drink, energy sources in your home, transportation, and travel.
Ways to reduce: use less energy (electricity), unplug electronics, heater and A/C, light bulbs, purchase foods from locals, less meat, laptop instead of a desktop, and avoid products with palm oil, look at how much I have, air dry clothes, and Waze app gives traffic info so you’re not sitting in traffic running your motor.
I have already been doing a variety of things but I didn’t connect them to “carbon footprint.”
Regarding climate change: I am recycling all my paper trash, recycling organic material for compost, lowering heat and cooler thermostat, recycling all aluminum cans. Reading Laudato Si’ as a cluster and discussing every two weeks. Emailing congress when I receive petitions regarding climate proposals etc.
I used some of my time at home to send a letter to Walmart, encouraging them to discontinue the use of plastic bags and letting them know that their customers will adapt very readily to bringing their own cloth bags, citing examples of where that is working. I hope to have an impact.
Sister Jane Hurley, my neighbor, and I started sharing a car. I will go to the bank for her when I go, and we both plan to drive less.
I also compost, recycle, and send money to have trees planted. During COVID-19, the Sisters at Carondelet Village have two shoppers who get our groceries if we want them delivered. We turn our grocery list in on Monday, and the groceries are delivered on Friday. I think I will continue to have groceries delivered because I buy less and just what I need. I won’t be tempted to buy sale items or other things I don’t really need.
I have tried to be very diligent in reducing my carbon footprint by limiting how much I buy and how much I throw “away.” There is no such place as “away,” in the words of Earth Mama Joyce Rouse. Garbage goes to a landfill, which generates methane, one of the worst greenhouse gases. I have been more intentional about purchases (reduce) and about finding ways to reuse things and to recycle. I am very excited about using a Terracycle plastic waste recycling box. These boxes are an expense, so it challenges us to put our money where our values are. We are amazed at how many plastic food bags and wrappers we have because we try NOT to use processed food.
I have also given trees for gifts through Heifer International and paid for carbon offsets through Terrapass. I am fortunate that the community car I use is a hybrid, and I am advocating for the purchase of more hybrids for our fleet.
I am very excited to be doing this with Sisters and ACOF across the congregation!
This year as we prepared the budget for the Congregational Office, we were mindful of the fact that we had just signed a commitment related to sustainability of the environment and that our 2019 Chapter had called us to respond to the crisis of Earth and global warming. Therefore, we calculated our office’s carbon footprint and budgeted an offsetting amount that we will spend in some kind of action that will neutralize that impact.
At the Congregational Office, we were very excited to participate in the global celebration of the fifth anniversary of Laudato Si’. We invited members to “Go deeper, journey farther, and respond boldly and creatively,” to the call of Laudato Si’ offering several opportunities for action. Our office bought a Terracycle box that allows us to recycle pens, pencils, and markers. Personally, I switched my shampoo and conditioner to a “bar” product, similar to a bar of soap. It works well. It has no microplastics in the product and comes in a paper box rather than a plastic bottle. We invited each person to take one more step in their journey to save our planet. This is mine.
Thank you to each of you who shared how you are making significant and bold changes to your lifestyle in order to affect climate change. The COVID-19 pandemic is teaching us how important it is that every one of us do our part to keep each other safe. The same principle applies if we truly want to have a positive impact on our climate crisis. The actions of each one of us are crucial.
Please continue to send in your experiences and reflections to firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to sharing more inspiring reports!
The Sisters of St Joseph of Carondelet and the U.S. Federation of the Sisters of St Joseph truly celebrated Laudato Si’ Week this May 16-24! With a special focus on reducing or eliminating single-use plastics from our lives, our members were educated and inspired. We prayed together and acted as one.
The online discussion groups were energetic and insightful. After watching on our own, we had online discussions of two excellent videos on plastics (Frontline: Plastic Wars is still available for viewing). Participants had a profound appreciation for the reflective presentations offered by Sr. Linda Neil and illustrated by Sr. Marion Honors. Both “The Be-attitudes for Care of Our Common Home” and “Living Simply in a Consumer Society” are available to watch online.
Federation artists shared artwork, poems, and prayers for all to engage in reflection and use for social media.
All participants were invited to action by:
Laudato Si’ Week was closed out with a powerful prayer celebrating the gifts and challenges of being members of this one sacred Earth community. It invited us to recommit to aligning with the Creator’s dream for our Earth.
Throughout the week participants shared their shock at how they have they have been duped by the plastic industry into thinking that recycling plastics was actually occurring when 91% of plastics produced in the last 15 years have not been recycled.
Inspiring poetry and quotes from Laudato Si’ helped participants go deeper as they pondered the calls of Laudato Si’ to care for our common home and simplify our life for the life of the world.
Inspired to make a difference, they journeyed farther in their commitment to action. Joining together they responded boldly to bring about systemic change to save our planet.
It’s not too late for those of you who were not available this week to share in these activities. Links throughout this article will take you to resources and actions you can take. You can still find all of the details on our Laudato Si’ Week webpage.