In Chapter One of Laudato Si, Pope Francis calls attention to climate change:

Climate change is a global problem with grave implications: environmental, social, economic, political and for the distribution of goods. It represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day. Its worst impact will probably be felt by developing countries in coming decades.

As I mentioned last time, my approach to consumption of resources can be summed up with these five words: reduce, reuse, renew, reconsider, and recycle. Last time I discussed reduce. This time, I’d like to talk about reuse.

Using something multiple times is always a better alternative to the use of single use items, even if those items are recyclable since there is a cost to recycling an item. After years of using plastic utensils at work, I recently realized that a better approach would be to bring in a set of stainless steel utensils from home. At my office, I also keep a steel mug for coffee and tea, and a steel water bottle.

Reuse can also mean reusing someone else’s things. Instead of purchasing a new car, book, dress, laptop, children’s clothing, or mobile phone, have you considered purchasing a used version of the same? I bought my copy of Laudato Si used!

The other side of this, of course, is to sell or donate used items when you no longer need them.

You can donate used baby items in the back of the St John’s Church and the St Vincent de Paul Thrift Store (and other thrift stores) will gladly take most other used items.

What items in your life can you reuse that you are not currently reusing? What items can you donate?

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

Paul Litwin

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