As part of our commitment to Earth via our Laudato Si’ Action Plan, we are inviting everyone who shares in our charism to take a monthly Eco-Challenge with us.
Avoid liquid soaps, shampoos and conditioners that come in single-use plastics
Imagine a plastic-free future
The following narrative has been adapted, with permission, from Coming Back To Life: Practices to Reconnect Our Lives, Our World, by Joanna Macy and Molly Young Brown
Imagine you are relaxing in your elder years, appreciating the clean, healthy natural environment surrounding you. A sustainable society has been achieved, and you reflect on your part in that transition. You see an approaching child around the age of nine or ten. The child has heard, in stories and songs, about what was done to save the world from environmental disaster and is eager to ask you questions about the crises averted.
“Is it true,” the child inquires, “what they say about life back then? Were there really trillions of tons of plastics in every part of the world…and even invading our bodies?”
You answer thoughtfully. “Yes, almost every product came in single-use plastic containers. They littered the streets and got dumped into the oceans and landfills. As the containers broke down into smaller and smaller pieces, microplastics were detected in human bodies. Millions and millions of people got sick.”
The child asks, “What was it like for you to live in a world like that? Weren’t you scared?”
“I was concerned,” you reply. “I started by making changes in my own consumption behaviors. One thing I did was refuse liquid products that came in single-use plastic containers. I tried using bar soap, bar shampoo and bar conditioner to avoid plastic waste. When I did find myself with a plastic container, I made sure it was responsibly recycled. Eventually, as more and more people made switches like this, single-use plastics were no longer produced, and the environment recovered.”
The child is curious. “Where did you and your friends find the strength to do what you did? How did you keep going?”
With a smile you remember, “Many of us discovered solidarity in actively embracing the monthly Eco-Challenges presented by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. The sisters even created a Recommended Sustainable Products webpage as part of their commitment to Earth. Laudato Si’, a document written by Pope Francis, tells us, ‘Once we start to think about the kind of world we are leaving to future generations, we look at things differently; we realize that the world is a gift which we have freely received and must share with others. …the world we have received also belongs to those who will follow us’ (LS 159). We always kept you, dear child, in our heartfelt actions.”
“Be the ancestor your descendants would be proud of.”Winona LaDuke
Ethical companies produce a plethora of eco-friendly soaps, shampoos and conditioners available in bar form with zero plastic packaging. Our sisters and partners have been testing some out, and you can find a few they like on our Recommended Sustainable Products webpage. Of course, you can search the web and find myriad options for different hair types and preferences as well.
Disclosure: In my head, “shampoo” and “conditioner” are not compatible with “bar”. But then I recall the day I learned about “liquid soap”. I promise to try a “bar” the next time I need to purchase shampoo.