Aberdeen Presentation Sisters Caring for the Earth

The Presentation Sisters and BizNOW magazine have partnered to create monthly social justice articles. The April article reflects on Caring for Earth.

mary louiseSubmitted by Sister Mary Lou Geraets who manages the recycling efforts at the convent and is passionate in leaving the world a “greener” place. Her daily care for creation comes from the love she has in her heart to have a healthy and beautiful earth, our “common home.”

“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” ~Jane Goodall

As Presentation Sisters, we believe one of our responsibilities is to sustain our earth and its resources. We examine our environmental footprint by keeping informed of new and different products. In the last decade, we have deepened this commitment by installing 125 solar panels and erecting an 80 foot wind turbine on our convent grounds in Aberdeen, S.D. These additions contribute to 25 percent of our energy needs and will have paid for themselves in 12 short years. We also replaced our boiler with a more efficient model that saves an average of $22,000 a year. Not all steps need to be large; sometimes the biggest impacts come from smaller, repetitive steps, such as:

  • Using high efficiency light bulbs
  • Planting a garden or a tree
  • Carpooling, reducing your drive time
  • Using green cleaning supplies
  • Stopping use of disposable plastic
  • Not automatically printing everything
  • Using cloth grocery bags
  • Teaching youth the importance of recycling
  • Getting involved to help green efforts in your local community

According to earthday.org, over the past couple of decades, more resources are being consumed annually than the Earth can replenish. Today, humans consume the equivalent of 1.5 planets’ worth of resources every year. Unless something changes, we are expected to consume 2 planets’ worth of resources by 2050!

We are not alone in caring for the earth. If each of us takes personal responsibility, much can be preserved for future generations. We combine our efforts with world leaders and the Sustainable Development Goals. Together may we work to achieve these goals, sustaining the world and all its beauty. As we celebrate Earth Day, April 22, let us remember that “Creation is a gift to be shared. It is the space that God gives us to build up with one another, to build a ‘we’. The world, history, all of time – this is the setting in which we build this ‘we’ with God, with others, with the earth,” Pope Francis, 7/7/15, Educators (Quote from the Pope found at: http://w2.vatican.va).

Challenge Question: In your daily life, how are you making a difference? What can you do to reduce your footprint? Take a quiz to see your footprint: www.earthday.org/reduce-footprint