Creation Care was formed to raise the awareness of MPB parishioners:
- That our love to our Creator and our communion with Creation are essential parts of our faith.
- That we cannot interfere in one area of the ecosystem without paying due attention to both the consequences of such interference in other areas and to the well-being of future generations.
- That it is manifestly unjust that we, a privileged few, should accumulate excess goods, squander available resources, while masses of people are living in conditions of misery at the lowest level of subsistence.
Creation Care Ministry seeks: to promote the ideas of sustainability and the interdependence of all Creation; to engage our parish in reflection and to inspire action – so that we can face together the imperative environmental issues of our time.
Who are we?
We are parishioners of MPB with a variety of interests that focus on how our Catholic faith and traditions are tied to environmental, ecological and society issues within our family, community, state, nation and the world.
Encyclical letter of Pope Francis on the care of our common home. Visit: https://tinyurl.com/mpblaudatosi
Quarterly Creation Care events meetings are typically held the second Monday in February, May, August, and November from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. This schedule may be modified as needed. Location during the construction of the new Parish Center will be announced in the Sunday bulletin. A variety of topics/issues are presented, followed by Q/A and discussion.
Monthly working meetings are scheduled the second Monday of each month from 9:30 to 11:00 a.m. for prayer, planning and preparation of on-going events and presentations. Creation Care invites those who are interested in this ministry to join us. Walk-ins to these meetings to observe or contribute ideas are welcome. Location of the monthly working meetings during the construction of the new Parish Center will be announced in the RCIA Room. Agendas for the monthly working meetings are available at firstname.lastname@example.org
Creation Care Bulletin Message for April 5, 2020
Over the past few weeks we have been witnessing first hand how we are all connected. How is it possible that an open-air food market in China could affect the health of the entire world? Is COVID19 and climate change connected? While not directly connected, climate scientists have been warning us that, “Climate change carries a threat to human health and health care systems in the coming decades.” (The American Thoracic Society).
This outbreak and how we manage it does provide lessons for how we ought to prepare for and manage any potential increase in infectious diseases that scientists predict will come with the extreme weather events, droughts and other environmental ecosystem changes brought on by climate change.
What actions can we take to reduce global warming and make a positive impact on our common home? Suggestions: become informed, take individual and community action. For more information, see EarthBeat, published by the National Catholic Register. https://tinyurl.com/ncronline
In 1971 Pope Paul VI referred to the ecological concern as “a tragic consequence” of unchecked human activity: “Due to an ill-considered exploitation of nature, humanity runs the risk of destroying it and becoming in turn a victim of this degradation.” Pope John Paul II, in his first encyclical in 1979, called for a global ecological conversion, warning that human beings seem “to see no other meaning in their natural environment than what serves for immediate use and consumption. Pope Benedict XVI proposed “eliminating the structural causes of the dysfunctions of the world economy and correcting models of growth which have proved incapable of ensuring respect for the environment.” (From Laudato Si’ #s 4, 5, 6) As you can see, the Church Fathers have been concerned with our treatment of Creation for some time. How are you contributing to caring for the earth?
WHY INVEST IN RECYCLING: ENVIRONMENT + ECONOMY
Recycling already produces substantial environmental and economic benefits for Colorado, even at our low rates. But there is more we can gain by recycling and composting. In 2018, our recycling and composting efforts:
- Reduced greenhouse emissions by over 1,800,000 MTCO2e, the equivalent of removing over 400,000 cars from the road annually;
- Saved over 13,000,000 BTUs of energy, the equivalent to conserving the annual energy use of over 142,000 households; an
- Boosted the local and state economy with nearly $195,000,000 in total wages earned from recycling and composting, compared to landfilling. (From https://tinyurl.com/2019CORecyclingReport)
This week’s tip: Milk and broth cartons are recyclable, lids off. Check for the name “Tetra Pack” on the bottom — it’s recyclable.
Recycling plastics has always been more problematic than other materials, i.e., cardboard and metal, which traditionally have had relatively healthy markets and end users. Unfortunately, we continue to produce more and more plastic, even though less than 10% of plastics ever made have been recycled. A staggering eight million tons of plastic waste finds its way out of the world’s collection systems and into the oceans every year. The best way to handle our plastic waste problem is to dramatically reduce the amount of plastic being produced. The CO legislature passed, on February 4, 2020, legislation allowing cities the right to regulate disposable plastics that are used for mere minutes, but can pollute the environment for centuries. (From https://tinyurl.com/2019CORecyclingReport). This week’s tip: when buying fruits and vegetables, avoid plastic packaged produce. Homemade produce wash: 1 cup distilled vinegar, 2 cups water, spray produce and rinse.
March 28 aluminum
February 22/23, 2020:
This week we embark on the season of Lent, a time for self-examination of the harmful thoughts and behaviors that are part of our human condition. This is an opportunity to take a look at our personal treatment of what God has created. Eastern Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew, as quoted by Pope Francis in Laudato Si’, “has spoken of the need for each of us to repent (change) the ways we have harmed the planet, for inasmuch as we all generate small ecological damage, we are called to acknowledge our contribution to the disfigurement and destruction of what God has created.” Bartholomew asks us to “replace consumption with sacrifice, greed with generosity, wastefulness with a spirit of sharing, an asceticism which entails learning to give, and not simply to give up.” What consumption pattern(s) might you consider changing to live a life more in keeping with a finite planet?
February 29/March 1
The compost and recycle rate for Colorado is 17%; for Denver, it’s 23%; Boulder – 57%. Colorado communities recycled and composted over 1.2 million tons of materials in 2018, up nearly 75,000 tons compared to 2017. In 2019 the State legislature took a huge step forward to improve recycling by creating a new funding source for Front Range communities to increase recycling. However, despite some all-star community efforts, Colorado continues to be one of the worst states at Recycling. (From https://tinyurl.com/2019CORecyclingReport). Can your household be doing more recycling and reusing? This week’s tip: Recycle all metals, especially aluminum. When using a can opener, don’t cut the lid completely off; it’s easier to recycle when the can and lid are connected.
January 5 Recycling your Christmas tree is as easy as ever, thanks to Denvers’ annual Treecycle program. For every tree recycled through Treecycle, Denver residents help keep valuable organic material out of the landfill, reduce greenhouse gas emissions caused by organic materials breaking down in our landfill. Denver Treecycle schedule is Jan. 6-17 on your scheduled trash collection day. Pick up the free mulch at the annual Mulch Giveaway & Compost Sale in May. For more info, visit https://tinyurl.com/RecycleTheTree; to recycle lights-free, see https://tinyurl.com/ReCycLights
January 12 Watering in the Winter: Water trees, shrubs, lawns, and perennials during prolonged dry fall and winter periods to prevent root damage that affects the health of the entire plant. Water only when air and soil temperatures are above 40 degrees F with no snow cover. For a great YouTube video on this go to https://tinyurl.com/CCwinterwatering
January 19 Do small efforts matter? According to Dorothy Day in her book Loaves and Fishes, people “cannot see that we must lay one brick at a time, take one step at a time; we can be responsible only for the one action of the present moment. But we can beg for an increase of love in our hearts that will vitalize and transform all our individual actions, and know that God will take them and multiply them, as Jesus multiplied the loaves and fishes.”
January 26 The Bishop of London, from 1995-2017, Richard Chartes, once noted that St. Francis, the 13th century Tuscan advocate for the poor and lover of nature, came from a wealthy family and was, by the standards of his day, a heavy consumer. A conversion experience convinced him to abandon the life of nobility and embrace a bare-bones lifestyle as a pathway to God. Chartres sees a lesson for people of faith. “We move toward God by subtraction, rather than accumulation.” From Climate Church, Climate World (p. 91) by Jim Antal.
Reduce the environmental impact of the holiday season. Christmas does not have to be a burden on the planet. Here are some ideas to help celebrate the season while caring for the earth:
- Buy Less or Buy Smart: Think “green” connect with nature.
- Lower the impact of holiday lighting.
- Choose a live tree.
- Make homemade cards.
- Find alternatives to wrapping paper. More at https://tinyurl.com/ydbmcwv2
“Listen for God in nature by using Jesus’ model. Live your life. Allow moments of pause. Notice the splendor of God’s creation around you. Reflect on what God is teaching you through visual reminders in the beauty of nature. . . . God has much to teach us if we simply pause to listen. (from IgnatianSpirituality.com, “Listening for God in Nature.”)
Recycle Christmas lights and more at SustainAbility. They take Christmas lights, batteries, corks, electronics and styrofoam. You will also be supporting “a diverse workforce, which includes individuals who have intellectual/developmental disabilities”. For drop-off locations and list of possible fees visit https://tinyurl.com/sustain-recycle
Watering in the Winter: Water trees, shrubs, lawns, and perennials during prolonged dry fall and winter periods to prevent root damage that affects the health of the entire plant. Water only when air and soil temperatures are above 40 degrees F with no snow cover. For a great YouTube video on this go to https://tinyurl.com/CCwinterwatering
November 3 – Denver has an Idling Vehicle Ordinance limiting idling to 5 minutes in any one-hour period. (“puffer law”). Idling for more than 10 seconds uses more fuel and produces more emissions that contribute to smog and climate change than stopping and restarting your engine. Advances in vehicle technology have made it easier than ever to avoid idling. If a line at a fast food drive-through, pharmacy, or bank is long, consider turning off your car while you wait or park and go in. When waiting for students, turning off your engine saves gas and fumes. Vehicle emissions are more concentrated near the ground, where children breathe. Poor air quality can contribute to asthma and other ailments, and children’s lungs are more susceptible to damage. (U.S. Dept. of Energy – May 2015)
November 10 – November 15 is America Recycles Day – created in 1997 and adopted by the Keep America Beautiful program in 2009. Here are a few interesting recycling facts:
- Aluminum cans can be recycled endlessly and can be back on the store shelves in 2 months;
- Americans throw away over 25 trillion Styrofoam cups a year (let’s eliminate these completely);
- Recycling one ton of plastic can save almost 2,000 gallons of gasoline.
Please think about starting or expanding recycling at home or in the work place. Please consider taking the #BeRecycled Pledge at https://americarecyclesday.org/pledge/ (From the Keep America Beautiful website)
November 17 – This Fall dress up your lawn in compost. A light coating of compost this fall will boost your lawn come spring – and save water next summer. Topdressing helps the ground act more like a sponge and allow the turf to hold more water and reduce runoff. Denver has a local compost producer – you – through the Denver Composts Collection Program, compost is collected, processed by A-1 Organics in Keensburg and can be purchased at Ace Hardware (Eco-Grow Compost) or take your truck to the facility and fill up the bed. For more info go to Denver Water https://tinyurl.com/Compost112
November 24 – Jane Goodall was asked “What do you see as the most important thing individuals can do to effect positive change for the environment?” Her reply: “Remember that every single day every single one of us makes a difference. And we all can choose the kind of difference we’re going make. It does require becoming aware about what we buy. Where does it come from? How was it grown? Did it involve the use of child slave labor or chemical pesticides? So many people feel insignificant; the problems facing the world are so huge and there’s nothing they can do; so they do nothing. But when you get thousands and then millions of individuals all doing the best they can every day for the environment and for other beings, then you get huge change.”
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Even better than recycling, the number one way to reduce waste is to not create it in the first place. Not creating waste requires refusing disposable products and reusing and repairing items that you already have. Let’s put an end to single-use waste. Read Paragraphs 21 and 22 Laudato Si https://laudatosi.com/watch and visit: https://tinyurl.com/refuse-reuse
Let us be clear: Caring for creation will not be easy. Before you can react to a crisis (change your lifestyle), you must have a conscious awareness that a crisis exists. The crises of today are found in our food, soil, air, water and what we wear. You can do nothing; or, you can become aware. Review our Weekly Messages/Tips at: https://mpbdenver.org/parish-life/creation-care/ also, use the Laudato Si link.
Every time a ton of paper is recycled it saves 17 trees, 380 gallons of oil, three cubic yards of landfill space, 4,000 kilowatts of energy and 7,000 gallons of water. Making new paper from recycled materials uses less energy than producing paper from virgin tree products and leaves more trees to absorb excess carbon dioxide. (Source: 32trash.org)
The same fossil carbon sources (GMOs, fertilizers, pesticides, etc.) that get food to our tables are the same sources that are clothing you. Fossil carbon sources produce acrylics, nylons, polyesters and their synthetic dyes that we wear. Why does this matter? Visit: https://tinyurl.com/fibershed
Creation Care Tip of the Week: DRINK SAFE WATER
Denver Water test results are now available online. According to EPA and Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment guidelines, Denver drinking water “is safe and meets or exceeds federal and state requirements.” But if you have an older home, you may want to request a free Leadcheck Kit at denverwater.org. Other water tests are also available.
Creation Care Tip of the Week: CONSERVE WATER
Did you know that the average American’s daily water footprint for all the (non-food) household goods they purchase, use and throw away is 583 gallons? Water conservation is about more than taking shorter showers. It can be about saving money by shopping less. For example, while a simple shower uses up to 5 gallons of water per minute, to produce one new cotton t-shirt takes 450 gallons of water. To produce one new Smartphone takes 3,190 gallons of water. Conserving water prevents water pollution and the greenhouse gas emissions associated with treating and distributing water and it saves money. Reduce your water consumption footprint by shortening your showers and by reducing your shopping. Learn more at https://www.watercalculator.org/
Creation Care Message of the Week: INTERNATIONAL PEACE DAY
Sept. 21, 2018, International Peace Day, join Campaign Nonviolence for a day of reflection. For more details visit: https://tinyurl.com/InternationalPeace18
Creation Care Tip of the week: SLOW THE FLOW
Slow the Flow offers inspections on residential water usage and suggests simple measures to increase water use efficiency in the home. Through Resource Central’s partnership with Colorado water providers, Slow the Flow “measures outputs from faucets, toilets, and shower heads, and performs a cost/benefit analysis on fixture replacement options.” Inspections and installation of high-efficiency shower heads and faucet aerators are free for qualifying residents. Learn more at https://tinyurl.com/slowtheflow
Creation Care Message of the Week: CELEBRATING SAINT FRANCIS OF ASSISI
His name was Francis…and he used to praise God the Artist in every one of God’s works. Celebrate the feast of St Francis on Oct 4, by living the gospel as he did. Read more at: https://tinyurl.com/StFrancis10-4-18
Sunday, August 4, 2019
Avoid Microfibers. Buy clothes made of natural materials, such as cotton, linen and wool. Microfibers found in yoga pants and fleece jackets are plastic pollutants, which are not only hurting marine life but are also showing up in our water and food chain. Learn more at https://tinyurl.com/intro2fibershed
Sunday, August 11, 2019
Are you into Podcasts? Colorado Public Radio Host Ryan Warner hosted the “The Climate Change Variety Hour” on the April 22 “Colorado Matters” program. The event showcased real-world solutions, including perspectives from Hunter Lovins. She is an American environmentalist, sustainable development proponent, co-founder of Rocky Mountain Institute, and president of the nonprofit organization Natural Capitalism Solutions. The program entitled Climate Change: Hope and Solutions over Doom and Gloom: is at https://tinyurl.com/ClimateChangeVarietyHour or go to the podcast at Colorado Matters – April 22.
Sunday, August 18, 2019
The following is attributed to Chief Seattle:
This we know,
The earth does not belong to us;
We belong to the earth.
This we know,
All things are connected
Like the blood which unites one family.
Whatever befalls the Earth
Befalls the sons and daughters of the Earth.
We did not weave the web of life,
we are merely a strand in it.
Whatever we do to the web,
we do to ourselves.
Sunday, August 25, 2019
Meat production has become more efficient. But turning animals into food still requires an enormous amount of resources. Global demand for beef, chicken, and pork continues to rise. So do concerns about environmental and other costs. Will reconciling these two forces be possible. Visit: https://tinyurl.com/meatproduction
Helium-filled balloons pollute the environment and threaten birds and other wildlife when they fall to earth. Nationwide there’s a growing awareness of the problem. The result is several states working on legislation banning “the intentional release of large numbers of balloons.” Colorado is not yet one of those states but we don’t need to wait for legislation banning such releases of balloons. We can do the right and better thing and celebrate without sending balloons into the sky. (Reported in the Denver Post April 29, 2019.)
Would you like to have your yard certified as an Official Wildlife Habitat? Appreciating an ecosystem begins in your backyard and developing an understanding that even in an urban environment, humans and wildlife can coexist. Denver Parks, in collaboration with the National Wildlife Federation, has established a process to certify urban areas resulting in the creation of habitat gardens throughout the city while elevating citizens’ awareness of their multiple benefits for Denver’s people, wildlife and water. For more information on how to qualify your yard, go to https://tinyurl.com/GardenCertification
The U.S. Catholic Church is following the plea of Pope Francis in Laudato Si – Care of Our Common Home. Catholic Energies will be installing the largest solar array ever in Washington, DC: a 2-megawatt system that dramatically reduces emissions and zeros-out the electric costs for all 12 buildings owned by Catholic Charities (both in DC and in Maryland). The savings will be diverted to core mission activities: feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, caring for the sick, and supporting the expectant mother. (Catholic Climate Covenant) Please consider supporting the 2020 Laudato Si Fund via the Catholic Climate Covenant website. https://Catholicclimatecovenant.org
“A tree gives glory to God by being a tree. For in being what God means it to be it is obeying [God]. It ‘consents,’ so to speak, to [God’s] creative love. It is expressing an idea which is in God and which is not distinct from the essence of God, and therefore a tree imitates God by being a tree” – Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation. Take a meditative walk in your neighborhood, work/play in the grass and plants, give thanks for creation.
Who said “When we plant trees, we plant the seeds of peace and hope?” It was Wangari Maathai of Kenya. She won the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize for her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace. She founded the Green Belt Movement where, for nearly thirty years, she mobilized poor women to plant 30 million trees. She passed away in 2011 but her work continues on in Africa. Read more about this amazing person and her work at https://tinyurl.com/PeaceSeeds And here at home, learn how we can make an impact on our local environment by planting trees: https://tinyurl.com/TreeBenefits.
Spend Time in Nature. Listen for God in nature by using Jesus’ model. Live your life. Allow moments of pause. Notice the splendor of God’s creation around you. Reflect on what God is teaching you through visual reminders in the beauty of nature. God has much to teach us if we simply pause to listen.
Environmental Working Group’s “2019 Dirty Dozen” (substitute these fruits/veggies with organic) and “2019 Clean Fifteen”. Read more at: https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/.
Denver Water recommends keeping your sprinkler system in good shape and gives 3 simple steps to keep your system well maintained: a) Check the control box for proper time settings; b) Check each and every sprinkler head. Heads will get clogged, possibly cracked and broken and develop leaks; and c) Check sprinkler head alignment to avoid watering surfaces like sidewalks and driveways resulting in wasted water. Read more at https://tinyurl.com/yb35h7ww.
How green are you? Are you willing to take a brief survey (less than 10 minutes) to indicate your attitude or belief in caring for creation? To view survey questions and how to determine your score – visit: https://tinyurl.com/HowGreenRU
May 5, 2019:
So why is the brown cloud able to make a comeback at all? In short: Denver has major oil and gas drilling right in its back yard. Studies have consistently shown that oil and gas facilities along the Front Range are major contributors to the region’s high levels of ozone, responsible for as much pollution as all its cars and trucks put together. Learn more at https://tinyurl.com/Denver-sBrownCloud
May 12, 2019
Are people in your neighborhood using 2-cycle, gasoline-powered backpack leaf blowers? Did you know that governments in Asia and elsewhere (including our nation’s capital) have been banning and phasing out two-stroke engines on anti-pollution grounds? Even though 2-cycle, gasoline-powered backpack leaf blowers may look relatively innocuous, they are serious contributors to ozone pollution–and the noise they make contributes to hearing loss. Learn more and find out what you can do at https://tinyurl.com/atlanticleafblower.
May 19, 2019
Drive less. Walk, bike and/or use public transportation more. “Transportation is now the largest source of carbon emissions in the United States. In many U.S. cities and towns, the personal automobile is the single greatest polluter because emissions from millions of vehicles on the road add up.” Learn more at https://tinyurl.com/c2estransportfootprint.
May 26, 2019
A loophole in Colorado law allows oil drilling and fracking to take place without obtaining a federally required permit. Tons of toxic chemicals from each well (nearly 200 industrial sites with multiple wells across the state) are being released into the atmosphere affecting health of humans, animals and the environment. See https://tinyurl.com/O-GDrillingLoophole