Office of Ecological Sustainability
Recognizing the interrelatedness of all creation, the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth’s mission includes a commitment “to care for Earth.” This has been a central value of the SCNs throughout our history, reflected in the many ways the SCNs care for God’s creation. We reaffirmed this commitment at our 2018 General Assembly, when we directed ourselves to “intensify our efforts across the Congregation to address the destruction of natural resources and the ecological and environmental crisis.” We invite you to join us in this commitment.
Below are some of our sustainability efforts and stories of action.
Our Office of Ecological Sustainability is guided by our mission and our congregational values. We have developed guidelines and value statements on caring for our land and the environment more broadly throughout the years. Below are a few documents that reflect our commitment to ecological sustainability.
In seeking to “be a model of sustainable and regenerative living”, the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth have taken the following steps:
Greenhouse Gas Emission Goal
The SCNs believe that climate change is real and one of the greatest threats to the health and safety of all life on Earth, especially those who are poor and marginalized. In order to do our part to address this threat and to limit planetary warming to 1.5°C by 2100, we pledge to eliminate our greenhouse gas emissions by 2037 in the United States and Belize and by 2047 in India, Nepal, and Botswana. Below are some of the ways we are working towards this goal.
We pledge to drive fewer cars per population and increase the percentage of electric vehicles or plug-in hybrids.
We pledge to install or invest in additional solar panels to provide renewable energy.
We pledge to eat a more locally-grown, plant-based diet and grow more kitchen gardens. [link to Nazareth community garden section] [link recipe book here]
We pledge to pursue energy conservation efforts throughout our congregation.
We will examine our air travel emissions and commit funds for carbon offsets.
Stories about Greenhouse Gas Emission Goals
Advice on container gardens
Join the SCN Office of Ecological Sustainability in learning how to garden wherever you may be, as we learn from Sisters who are “starting small” by gardening in pots, containers, and on their balconies.
SCN Family Members Share Garden Photos
SCN family members across the Congregation have been sharing gardening tips and photos of their kitchen gardens, today we share photos from Teresa Kotturan, S
A Glimpse of Gardening in Botswana
As part of the Office of Ecological Sustainability’s ‘local, plant-based eating’ educational series, Julia Gerwe connected with Sunila Erumangalathu, SCN, in Botswana, to learn more about gardening in this African country.
Eliminating single-use plastics
Plastic waste is threatening waterways, aquatic habitats, and the ecological balance of our global communities. The Sisters of Charity of Nazareth are doing our part to eliminate our consumption of single-use plastics through refusal to purchase plastics, reuse of materials, and the production and use of more sustainable materials.
We are eliminating plastic waste from our congregations in India.
We are eliminating single-use plastic materials on our campus at Nazareth, KY.
We are intentionally eliminating plastic waste and use from our communities in Louisville, KY.
We hope to alleviate global plastic waste by empowering communities in which we serve to reduce plastic consumption.
Stories of Eliminating Single-Use Plastics
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Reducing our global water usage
Our world has a finite supply of freshwater, and climate change is exasperating the disparities in access to freshwater held by communities around the world. As a congregation, the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth see water as a sacred resource and are working hard to use it responsibly.
We will do this by sustainably harvesting water in many of our local communities and ministry places.
We will do this by conserving water.
We will do this by treating rain as a resource.
Stories about reducing our global water usage
Water with Blessings
Sister Barbara Flores, SCN, and her willing assistant and partner in ministry, Celia Usher, piled 20 white buckets and 2 large bags of Sawyer Water Filters into their vehicle and set out toward the rural St. Margaret Village to what turned out to be a very blessed...
Managing our land to promote maximum wildlife habitat and carbon sequestration
Biodiversity loss is occurring at an unprecedented rate around the world, and the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth understand nature as God’s handiwork bestowed upon us as stewards. We are taking an active role in supporting native habitats across our lands and supporting the biodiversity of nature.
We are transitioning agricultural fields from conventional corn and soybeans to native prairie.
We are increasing the number of native plant species in our landscaping.
We are managing our land as a habitat for native species, including federally threatened and at-risk populations.
Stories about wildlife habitat and carbon sequestration
Earth Day Cleanup at Nazareth
Join the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth’s Office of Ecological Sustainability for an Earth Day Cleanup this Earth Day: Friday, April 22, 2022 from 9:00-11:00 am at Nazareth.
Invasive species removal workday at Nazareth
The SCN Office of Ecological Sustainability hosted an invasive species removal workday at Nazareth on Jan 24, 2022 in conjunction with the University of Kentucky and the Kentucky Master Naturalist Program.
Nazareth Tree Walk
The Office of Ecological Sustainability announces the release of the Nazareth Tree Walk. Designed to help interpret some of Nazareth’s trees to guests and retreatants as they walk the campus, it also promotes native tree species and the important role they play in a healthy ecosystem.
Stories of Action
INDIA 75: An update from Mother Sebastian
Our story continues on November 5, 1947, as Mother Ann Sebastian shares an update with the Congregation, providing more details about the journey of the six India Pioneers:
INDIA 75: A Message from the Steel Executive
Our story continues on Oct. 29, 1947, as three more SCNs set sail for India.
INDIA 75: A Message from the S.S. Steel Vendor
We continue our chronicle of the SCN mission to India aboard the S.S. Steel Vendor, as Sister Lawrencetta recounts the early days of the voyage.
Join the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth in taking action to protect God’s creation.
Resources and Community Partners
The Sisters of Charity of Nazareth are grateful for the following community partners and resources that enhance our mission to care for Earth and our commitment to sustainability.