When we posted a video on Facebook about President Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris Agreement, our outrage was matched by yours. In a tradition informed by years of study, prayer, and conversation with both laity and religious around the world, the Dominican Sisters across the United States feel that Earth has too long been used and abused, and is among the poor to whom we are called to minister.
We believe that climate change is real. We believe that it is a pressing issue of our time. We believe that, as people of faith and as people of good will, we are called to preach the truth of living in a right relationship with Earth.
Here’s our history of wanting to care for Earth.
As our video reached thousands, and then thousands more, we also heard despair. We received comments lamenting that climate change has long been in the works and there’s nothing we can do about it now. We listened to people earnestly claim that, although this is bad news, there’s simply nothing they can do to change it.
We get the frustration. But the conversation can’t end there. After all, we are Dominican Sisters of Hope, called to preach the Gospel message of Hope to the world. We do not give into despair and consider Earth, damaged but living, mistreated but evolving, a lost cause. Contrarily, we take concrete action steps to protect Earth, preserve Earth, and yes, reverse climate change.
Below, we list five action steps that we committed to in 2014 and continue to uphold today. We also share ideas in our video below. We invite you to join us in speaking Truth, sharing Hope, and acting for Justice.
1. Commit to lending your voice to those efforts that seek to mitigate the effects of Climate Change.
Consistent with our Catholic faith and the Dominican search for Truth, speaking up is not optional but required of us. We facilitate retreats, share content on social media, host educational video screenings, create free e-books, and host lectures about the reality of our planet being treated as an object, used and abused. In doing so, we hope to not only be knowledgeable but to share our knowledge with a wide audience, so that others might encounter Truth through us. Along these same lines, we also sign petitions for eco-justice and fight local legislation to make it fair for Earth. How can you lend your voice to such efforts?
2. Commit to changes in lifestyle individually and collectively that will reduce your carbon footprint.
Whether it’s in our homes, at places of work, at the institutions where we have influence, or in our communities of worship, we’re committed to reducing our carbon footprint and encouraging others to do the same.
There are a myriad of ways to conserve energy in daily life. How many of the following have you considered?
- Make your next car purchase a hybrid
- Downsize (Is a large house with a two-car garage absolutely necessary?)
- Switch your electric company to a company that uses renewable energy
- Consume less
- Repair things instead of throwing them away
- Research whether candidates running for local office support renewable energy.
3. Commit to educating yourselves, family, friends, neighbors and colleagues about global warming and ways to address this challenge.
We not only create educational materials, but we do research. We attend workshops. We connect with thought leaders. We want to make sure that we have the facts, and you should too. For starters, see how many of the following you can answer right now:
- Do you know where your water comes from? (i.e. not the faucet)
- Do you know where your food comes from? (i.e. not the grocery store)
- What about your neighbors’ water and food?
- Do you know your history?
- Do you know who was living here before you?
- Do you know why they’re not here now?
4. Commit to joining like-minded groups
We all share the planet, so it makes sense to share the effort to protect it. Research groups in your local community to mobilize awareness and action toward a more sustainable future. Working for systemic change and legislation to protect the environment and the community of life is better when you’re doing it on a supportive team.
5. Commit to responsible investments, supporting the development of sustainable energies, and advocating for more environmentally responsible corporate policies and practices.
We can all agree: we can’t totally erase climate change. But, with hard work, dialogue, and commitment, we can certainly work toward a better future for Earth.