This is an awesome responsibility! We share responsibility with God in the care of the earth and all of its creatures.
We have failed. Unfortunately, we haven't done a very good job of stewardship so far. In many parts of the world, we have depleted the natural resources. Forests and jungles have been decimated. We've robbed the earth of rich soil and minerals. Water has become scarce. The air is polluted. Once plentiful birds, fish, and animals are becoming extinct.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us, "In the beginning God entrusted the earth and its resources to the common stewardship of mankind to take care of them, master them by labor, and enjoy their fruits. The goods of creation are destined for the whole human race" (Par. 2402).
So what can we do to be better stewards of creation? I believe each person can make a difference in their personal lives and in their communities to protect the environment and save energy in the process.
New Year's resolutions. Wisconsin's Environmental Decade (now called Clean Wisconsin) created a list of New Year's resolutions that can easily be implemented in our daily lives. And these resolutions are easier to manage than losing that extra 10 pounds. Here are some suggestions:
1. Conserve water by turning off the faucet while brushing your teeth and installing a low-flow shower head.
2. Reduce energy use and costs by using compact fluorescent light bulbs.
3. If you feel you have to use lawn fertilizers, choose a non-phosphorous version and reduce polluted runoff into the streets and waterways.
4. Help Wisconsin's economy and buy locally grown or produced products.
5. Reduce pollution by recycling all of your home's waste newsprint, cardboard, glass, and metal.
6. Donate a few dollars, or a few minutes of your time, to a Wisconsin organization working to defend the favorite places you use and enjoy (go to www.cleanwisconsin.org and click on "links").
7. Reduce waste by using canvas totes for your groceries or reuse the grocery bags from the last trip to the store.
8. Buy products manufactured with minimal environmental impact.
9. Take a bus to work one day a week or start a car pool.
10. Make investments in socially responsible companies.
God has given us the vocation to subdue the earth. This does not mean to destroy it but to care for it with responsibility and love. Let's make a resolution to be more faithful stewards of the earth in 2005.
Mary C. Uhler
Diocese of Madison, The Catholic Herald
Offices: Bishop O'Connor Catholic Pastoral Center, 702 S. High Point Road, Madison
Mailing address: P.O. Box 44985, Madison, WI 53744-4985
Phone: 608-821-3070 Fax: 608-821-3071 E-Mail: email@example.com