April 6, 2012: Earth Day reminds us — again — of our planet’s fragility, by Sister Carolyn Teter

April 6, 2012

The theme of the World Day of Peace in 2010 was, “If you want to cultivate peace, protect creation.”  Because of the close bond that exists in our globalized and interconnected world, we need to emblazon that statement in our consciousness so we have a heightened awareness of the fragility of Planet Earth, caused mainly by our carelessness and disregard toward the natural environment.

John McConnell, one of the founders and promoters of Earth Day in the United States, presented “77 Theses On the Care of the Earth.”  In them, he offered the essential ideas that he felt were needed to bring about a global change of consciousness from mindless exploitation of the earth resources, to a peaceful nurture of Planet Earth. Here are a few of his ideas pertaining primarily to building relationships to care for the Earth.  (Log on to www.earthsite.org/77.htm for all 77.)

•  That mutual trust is necessary in order to counter the threats to our planet.

•  That only by open communication and joint action, for a great common good, can mutual trust develop.

•  That the one thing we have in common is our planet.

•  That a campaign for the care of Earth will create relationships leading to mutual trust and ultimately to reciprocal disarmament and stable peace.

•  That peaceful actions beget peace.

•  That in a world of instant global communications a strong, informed public opinion in all nation’s dedicated to peace and care of Earth, could become the greatest deterrent  to war and local violence.

•  That the greatest challenge in history is the present challenge of destiny involving all humanity; a challenge to reclaim the Earth for all peoples and to free them from the fear of war and want.

•  That accepting this challenge will bring the measure of trust needed to achieve these goals.

Earth Day 2012 is April 22, and it is estimated that 1 billion people around the globe will participate in this event to help “Mobilize the Earth.” It will be a time when people of all nationalities and backgrounds will give voice to their appreciation of the Planet Earth, and demand its protection so that a sustainable future can be assured for all.  It will be a time for calling on every individual, organizations and government to do their part. The goal of the day is to collect “A Billion Acts of Green” to show the importance of environmental issues around the world.

What can we do here in Concordia on April 22 (and every day) to create a community of persons who are committed to saving Planet Earth and thus bringing about a culture of peace in this community and in the world? Here are a few suggestions.  (And for more, go to www.earthday.org.)

• Attend an Earth Day event.

• Organize an Earth Day event

• Talk to someone about your concern for environmental issues — global warming, the water scarcity, renewable energy instead of the use of fossil fuels.

• Change a light bulb.  If every U.S. family replaced one regular light bulb with a compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulb, it would eliminate 90 billion pounds of greenhouse gases, the same as taking 7.5 million cars off the road.

• Reduce, reuse, recycle.  By recycling half of your household waste, you can save 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide each year.

• Use less heat and air conditioning.

• Drive less and drive smart.  Check out options for carpooling to work or school.  Make sure your car is running efficiently.

• Buy energy-efficient products.

• Use less hot water.

• Plant a tree.

• Encourage others to conserve.

If each person chose one of these suggestions and put it into practice, the goal of Earth Day 2012 — to collect a “Billion Acts of Green” — would be accomplished. But most important, by these actions a culture of peace in our community and in the world is being created.


— Sister Carolyn Teter is a Sister of St. Joseph of Concordia on staff at Manna House of Prayer. She is also a member of the Concordia Year of Peace Committee.