Solar panels are seen on the roof of the Paul VI audience hall at the Vatican.

World Day of Peace is commemorated on Jan 1. And it does not go unnoticed by our pope. In his new year message, he chose the theme, If You Want to Cultivate Peace, Protect Creation.

God has given us the earth and all that is natural and good, we are told. Yet, we are now facing threats – “numerous threats to peace and to authentic and integral human development”.

If we truly believe in a God who sent his Son, the Word made flesh who dwelt among us, then we must not fail to understand that the ominous threats of our environmental crises also signal a crisis in our Christian theology.

As the book, Care for Creation (Delio, et al) tells us:

“Christians are in a crisis of the Word of God. ...We have lost a Christian theology that adequately conveys the idea that creation is God speaking to us.”

Are we aware that each time we flip a switch, turn on a car engine, buckle up in an airplane seat, we are releasing gases that heat up the planet? Our lifestyle decisions, ranging from the type of house we buy, how we travel, to what we eat, have what is known as “carbon consequences”.

Every day in news reports, we learn of extreme weather conditions, such as the recent massive floods in Australia, and December’s snow-related disasters in the US and Europe.

Are these climate changes a consequence of over-indulgent, excessively consumeristic behaviour? The overwhelming evidence is hard to dispute.

The call for a spirituality of an ecological time and an environmental revolution is not new. If the Vatican can install 2,400 solar panels for the Paul VI auditorium, can we not begin to take simple green steps in transforming our parishes?

One simple act is to stop the use of plastic and styrofoam in our canteens on Sunday. It would appear that while most parishes are probably already serving food and drinks in washable ware, the problem arises when it comes to takeaways and catering. The solution is to use biodegradable ones like “cornware”.

And just when you think you have gotten over Christmas and year-end parties, here comes the Lunar New Year! Being a good host doesn’t mean overfeeding guests by piling on the meats and excessive sugar treats. Let’s not forget the most important thing about this tradition – reunion with our families and loved ones.

God bless us all with good sense and gratitude!

Take a look at:

The Catholic Climate Covenant (watch the video: Who’s under your carbon footprint?) The Green Kampong

By Anne Lim
The writer is a parishioner of the Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary with a special interest in spiritual ecology

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