In Chapter One of Laudato Si, Pope Francis calls us to recognize that the earth and the climate are a common good that we must care for:

The climate is a common good, belonging to all and meant for all. At the global level, it is a complex system linked to many of the essential conditions for human life. A very solid scientific consensus indicates that we are presently witnessing a disturbing warming of the climatic system…Humanity is called to recognize the need for changes of lifestyle, production and consumption, in order to combat this warming or at least the human causes which produce or aggravate it.

It is up to each of us to change our lifestyles, and reduce both production and consumption. Will it be a challenge? Absolutely, but don’t we want to preserve this beautiful planet for our children and grandchildren?

My approach to resource consumption can be summed up with these five words: reduce, reuse, renew, reconsider, and recycle. Let me explain.

Reduce: Try asking yourself these sorts of questions to help you reduce your consumption: Do I need to turn the heat on or can I put a sweater on? Do I need to drive to the store or can I walk there? Or maybe it can wait until tomorrow? Batching up your needs and reducing the number of times you drive to the store is another good way to reduce your use of fossil fuels. Do I turn the lights off when I leave the room? How about shortening my showers? When I use the dishwasher or washing machine can I reduce the amount of soap I use? Anytime I can reduce my usage of consumables, it will also reduce my carbon footprint.

What one thing can you reduce your use of starting today?

Next time, we will talk about reuse.

Working together, we can help take care of our common home.

Paul Litwin

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