What is an Ecological Conversion?

Last week I suggested to you that Advent season was a great time to undergo an ecological conversion. So what exactly is an ecological conversion? The Laudato Si’ Movement defines ecological conversion as the “transformation of hearts and minds toward greater love of God, each other, and creation. It is a process of acknowledging our contribution to the social and ecological crisis and acting in ways that nurture communion: healing and renewing our common home.”

Photo by David Bartus

The ecological convert changes his or her approach to life. (I have written about this before; most recently this past Lent and much of what follows is borrowed from my previous writings on the subject.) The convert considers the effect of his or her decisions and actions on the integral ecology and tries to choose a path that shows reverence for God’s creation. 

The ecological converts’ work is often about learning to do more with less. Less consumption, less purchases, less waste, less resource usage, less of a footprint on the planet. Less usage of fossil fuels, less eating of meat. And when they consume/heat/cool/travel, they try to do it most efficiently, especially if they can afford to take the most creation-friendly path. 

The ecological convert shares their ecological convictions with others, but in a non-judgemental way. That is, they lead by example rather than by constant admonishment! 

During his Holy Thursday homily back in April, Father Crispin spoke about Jesus washing the feet of the apostles as an example to them and that the apostles had to spread Jesus’ message by washing the feet of others. Father Crispin stated rather emphatically, “Feet must be washed!”  

I am going to take the liberty of extending Father Crispin’s metaphor a bit further: dirty feet have a large footprint and leave a trail of dirt and refuse, while clean feet leave a minimal trail. So the ecological convert looks for feet to wash, to spread the “care for creation” message while reducing everyone’s footprints. The convert starts by washing their own feet (i.e., personal actions), then washes the feet of those closest to them (i.e., family and friends), the feet of their community (i.e., community members), and finally looks to advocate for clean feet for their city, their country, and the whole world (i.e., political/systemic actions). Yes, the ecological convert washes a lot of feet and everyone is the better for it.

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

Paul Litwin

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