A photograph taken by one of our missioners, Nora in Bolivia

The environment is God’s gift to everyone and in our use of it we have a responsibility towards the poor, towards future generations and towards humanity as a whole.” ~Caritas in Veritate, No. 48

It was a blessing this week to be able to meet with some of the individuals who have had a significant impact on sustainable development and promoting the respect of all creation.

The Center for Concern in Washington D.C. invited renowned Columban priest Fr. Sean McDonagh, recent recipient of the to speak about the “obstacles of sustainable living.” In the discussions of the evening the focus was how the earth is wasted more than it is replenished. One of the speakers during the evening noted “we can throw money into our financial institutes and it can come back, but we can’t throw money into our eco-system and hope it comes back.”

In other words, our responsibility to the earth involves deliberate action, making conscious efforts to consume less and give back to the earth, so to speak. When we care for creation, we play a role in living with and respecting the earth, but this also impacts the least among us, the poor. We are called to realize that we are part of something bigger, that every single person shares the earth. Some of those on the earth waste nothing because they have so little.

Rachel Roa, domestic volunteer, who attended the talk at Center for Concern, commented, “it made me aware of what steps I can take to consume less in the world to give the global community and earth a chance to thrive.” World consumption can come in many different forms. She offered the example of cell-phones – how we continue to buy them as a new model comes out but we often don’t consider what happens to the ones we don’t use anymore.

In our Franciscan Tradition at FMS, this is an important facet for us to remember, having that awareness of the world around us, our interconnectedness with every living being. As a reflection, how can we live more sustainably? How can we actively consider how our day to day decisions – the drops of water we use, the meat we ate for dinner last night, the drive we took to work when we could have walked – impact the least among us?

Learn more about sustainable development from the Center of Concern’s Website: http://www.coc.org/ed