Happy Earth Day! Please join me in giving thanks for Senator Gaylord Nelson and others, especially those in the anti-war movement, whose efforts to connect the health of the planet with the health of the human family resulted in the annual celebration of Earth Day in 1970. Let us celebrate Earth Day 2022 with a new sense of urgency for changing the human behaviors that led to the upheavals we are experiencing in the systems of Planet Earth.
Many years ago, I read Diet for a Small Planet by Frances Moore Lappe. It opened my mind to the connection between a first world lifestyle and third world poverty. I began to make the connection between lavish consumption, excessive consumerism, a meat-centered diet, and the production of waste. I couldn’t reconcile “God saw all that he made and pronounced it good” (Genesis) with the acceptance of waste as just a part of life. I believed that everything God created was good, everything had a purpose and was essential for the whole. Obviously, others were similarly puzzled by the presence of waste, thus the well-known message, “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.” In other words, transform the waste! Let me say that again: Transform the waste!! Find a way to render it not only harmless but useful.
Our generous Creator God has gifted us humans with the godly gift of creativity. Some of us create “from scratch,” and some of us take that which has been deemed useless and transform it into something new. I became fascinated with composting. Transforming food scraps, otherwise known as “garbage,” into soil became an adventure. To witness the change from unpleasant odors to sweetness, to hold the finished product and add it to a wilting plant and watch the plant perk up gave me great pleasure. At some point, I began to apply composting to our lives as humans. The older I get, the less I am able to do for myself and others. So why am I still here? I suspect it is because all of life is about continual change and my process of being changed, transfigured, transformed is not finished. So, like a child, I wonder what I will be like when I grow up!
– Sister Lesley Block, OP
Sister Lesley is a counselor at a group residence
for adults suffering from mental illness