This is the fifth of a 6 part series on discernment. To view the previous postings scroll down.
I ask for the grace to reconcile my relationship with God, creation and humanity, and to stand in solidarity through my actions. Each of us is to reconcile or to take action according to the cry that has reached our ears, the story that propels us into action. I personally have heard, loud and clear, the cry of the Earth. Mahatma Gandhi once said, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”
We might say as Secular Franciscans, “You must be the change that will praise God in the world.”
The cry loudest in my ears was from God’s creation. Global Catholic Climate Movement (among others) reported on the damage being done by the burning of fossil fuels in the world.
So in 2014, I made the leap, took money from my retirement fund and purchased a hybrid car. I would have bought an entirely electric car but unfortunately that was not possible at that time. I consider myself the Carpooling Queen and use my car to take as many people as I can to wherever I go thus building community and relishing many opportunities for encounter.
I am still investigating the possibility of installing solar panels on my home to provide electricity and converting to a heat pump so that I can use solar rather than gas for all energy needs. Another option for access to renewable energy, I am happy to report, has been provided by my City of New Westminster. The City has built a solar garden which I can invest in so that eventually accessible, renewable energy can be delivered to all its residents.
I will continue to vote for leaders who come up with plans that help all to access such renewable energy sources and petition government and corporations to encourage the action needed.
In 2015, Development & Peace ran a “Create a Climate of Change” campaign, and thousands of Canadians committed to reducing their carbon footprint and asked the Government of Canada to take action against climate change and to support communities in the Global South who are most affected by it. I signed on and brought D&P to my parish.
In 2016, D&P ran a campaign “At the Heart of the Action” which acknowledged there are many ways to respond to climate change, but agriculture must be at the heart of the solutions. Small family farmers feed the world with less than one-quarter of all farmland. D&P asked that we support an agricultural model that enables these stewards of the earth, here at home and around the world, to live in dignity and feed our communities in a way that respects our common home.
Small family farmers feed the world with less than one-quarter of all farmland.
So, here at home, I committed to be a distributor of community- supported-agricultural (CSA) shares from A Rocha, a Christian environmental stewardship organization that has a vegetable farm in South Surrey.
For twenty weeks, I drive out to south Surrey every Tuesday afternoon between June and October to pick up shares and deliver them to a drop zone in our parish priest’s backyard. The farm runs an agricultural internship program among other programs to teach young people from around the world how to sustainably grow organic vegetables. Those of us participating in CSA learn to eat seasonally and create community through connection.
Even closer to home, I had a man from my parish build garden boxes in my back yard so I might grow some of my own produce. My husband and I try to buy in season and local when possible and when not possible, we consider fair trade products.
One year I volunteered at the national conference of the Canadian Fair Trade Network here in Vancouver and met wonderful people committed to making change – to creating markets and connecting people who grow products in sustainable ways. We can all support them by our purchases. Personal action and advocacy help to create change.
In 2019, I took a permaculture course which looks at living for the good of all – living to thrive, to create bounty to share with all and to provide for future generations. I am learning to live my life immersed in the belief that God’s gift of creation is to be gently tended.
Action can be taken on both a personal level and a structural level. Vote. Write letters to policy makers. Do what you are called to do.
Prompt the change that brings God’s goodness into the world.
Living in community with all and for all, God calls us to use the Earth’s bounty to praise, reverence and serve Him. Pope Francis calls us to help heal a broken world, to embrace a culture of solidarity and encounter; to embrace a new sustainable path forward that puts God’s creation at the center.
Ask for the grace to reconcile your relationship with God,
creation and humanity.
creation and humanity.
What actions can I take to help repair my relationship with God, creation and humanity, and make choices consistent with my desire for reconciliation?