Earth Day on April 22 is celebrated worldwide to raise awareness and promote action toward environmental protection. This year, during a special Earth Day prayer service in St. Vincent de Paul Church, the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth celebrated Caring for Earth by sharing ways in which we can all live simpler, more sustainable lives.
Some testimonials shared during the gathering included reducing the use of plastics by choosing products with compostable packaging, repurposing and reusing items as much as possible, and changing eating habits by growing food sources and consuming less meat.
“For about 25 years, I have been a vegetarian,” said Sister Susan Gatz. “The reason I do that is because the way raise animals around the world has a huge carbon footprint.”
Sister Michelle Grgurich shared how she has chosen to use sustainable items such as shampoo bars that do not use plastic bottles, laundry detergent sheets in compostable boxes and even toothpaste that uses recyclable tubes.
Sister Sangeeta Ayithamattam spoke about the importance of reducing unnecessary water usage. “It has really become second nature for me,” she said of being mindful of how much water is being used to brush her teeth or wash a dish. She also collects water used for other tasks and takes it to the garden to then water plants. The same practice is applied to using electricity and taking care to turn off lights when leaving a room.
“I feel like every little thing I do really helps our Brothers and Sisters and our wonderful universe to survive and to really heal our planet,” Sister Sangeeta said. “Healing our planet, I think, is my passion and I hope to do more.”
During the prayer service, others spoke about driving electric vehicles, thrifting items instead of buying new, prioritizing “needs” over “wants,” choosing clothing made with natural fibers, and generally being mindful of one’s impact on the earth. At the end of the service, participants were encouraged to write down — on recycled paper — ways they live simply and pin it to a repurposed trellis.
By sharing personal experiences and practical tips, individuals can inspire others to make a commitment to living sustainably and to take action to protect the planet.