Our Planet Earth
Our journey to care for our planet earth!
Two-year anniversary of Our Mother Earth columns in The Message
With much gratitude to Bishop Joseph M. Siegel, publisher of The Message, and Tim Lilley, editor, we celebrate two years of writing Our Mother Earth monthly. Every column is available by visiting https://evdiomessage.org/our-mother-earth/. Titles and dates for each are shown below.
Can We Cool the Earth?
Did you know the TV show “Highway to Heaven” produced many episodes about the environment? Merry Christmas from Grandpa (1989; Season 5/Episode 13) aired 33 years ago. It’s significant because many issues then －exist today. Similarly, Katharine Hayhoe, Ph.D., had a great video entitled “The most important thing you can do to fight climate change” (12/14/18).
Do Trees Make You Healthier?
Have you heard about the Louisville, Kentucky, “Green Heart” project －“Do trees make you healthier?” This 6-year study (the first of its kind) will transform four neighborhoods in South Louisville with 8,000 trees. Trees, shrubs and other plants will be placed where they can best soak up lung-damaging pollution (James Bruggers, 10/26/17, Courier Journal). Trees give us oxygen to breathe; shade; sequester carbon dioxide from the atmosphere; and filter pollutants.
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Address Care for Creation
Did you know the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development sent a letter to Congress on Budget Reconciliation and Climate Change on June 8, 2022, supporting $555 billion in climate investments, $320 billion in clean- energy tax credits, $20 billion in agricultural-conservation investments, and $105 billion investments in resilience, such as wildfire-mitigation projects and forest preservation? The USCCB also encouraged people of faith to take action, and contact elected representatives to express their concerns and opinions on upcoming legislation. Such investments are needed to meet the Paris Agreement goals to reduce carbon emissions by 50% by 2030. Jose Aguto, Executive Director of Catholic Climate Covenant says, “such actions will be a civilizational game-changer.”
Save the Dirt
Dave Hudak, a former Field Office Supervisor for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, showed great wisdom when he’d say, “Save the dirt.” He was really saying, “Save the soil.” If you give life to the soil and make it healthy, you’ll resolve many land, water and air issues. An excellent article is, “The Soil is Alive, Protecting Soil Biodiversity across Europe” (European Commission, 5/22/08). Soils with high biodiversity can be noisy (Ute Eberle, 2/9/22, Life in the soil was thought to be silent. What if it isn’t? Living World). Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “A nation that destroys its soil, destroys itself.”
Seventh anniversary of ‘Laudato Si’’
Why should we care about this anniversary? Maybe because anniversaries become useful when we use them to ask questions like, “Have we listened to Pope Francis, and is the temperature of the Earth really increasing?” Compared with a decade ago, more Americans say protecting the environment and dealing with global climate change should be top priorities (PEW Research Center, Funk and Kennedy, How Americans see climate change and the environment in seven charts, 4/21/20).
During a nice day, what do you see in the sky? Maybe a blue sky with drifting white clouds and sunlight striking (heating) the Earth? It’s so glorious and vast from Earth; but from space, it’s so very thin. Do you know it’s our atmosphere that contains oxygen for us to breathe, and it is our security blanket protecting us from ultraviolet rays? If we had no atmosphere, there would be no life. The atmosphere even allows us to hear.
The majority of greenhouse gases in the United States, like carbon dioxide, come from burning fossil fuels for electricity, heat and transportation (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency). They cause climate change by trapping heat, and have far-ranging environmental and health effects (National Geographic, Carbon dioxide levels are at a record high. Here’s what you need to know. Christina Nunez, 5/13/19). A simple way to help Our Mother Earth is to become carbon neutral.
Oceans, Coastlines and the Great Lakes
Did you know the that U.S. Department of the Interior protects coastlines for the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, Gulf of Mexico, and our five Great Lakes? Lake Michigan touches 45 miles of Indiana coastline, including Indiana Dunes National Park. It was authorized by Congress in 1966 as the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, and re-designated as the nation's 61st National Park Feb 15, 2019. Oceans, coastlines and the Great Lakes need protection because they are God’s gifts for our enjoyment and survival, and they affect people throughout the world.