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!