Justice and Solidarity
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The Earth Day
This year, we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day celebrated on April 22, 1970.
In the decades leading up to that first Earth Day, the United States remained largely oblivious to environmental concerns and how a polluted environment threatens human health. However, the stage was set for change with the publication of Rachel Carson’s best seller Silent Spring in 1962 which exposed the effect the pesticide DDT was having on the thinning of the shells of bird eggs. The book represented a watershed moment and sold 500,000 copies in 24 countries.
Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson came up with the idea for a national day to focus on the Environment after Nelson, then a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, witnessed the ravages of a massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, CA, in 1969. Inspired by the student anti-war movement, Senator Nelson realized that if he could infuse the energy of the anti-war protests with an emerging public consciousness about air and water pollution, it would force environmental protection onto the national political agenda. Nelson announced the idea of a “national teach-in on the environment” and persuaded Pete McClosky, a conservative-minded Republican Congressman, to serve as his co-chair and recruited a 25 year old named Dick Hayes from Harvard as national coordinator. April 22, falling between Spring Break and Final Exams, was selected as the date. On April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans – at the time, 10% of the total population of the United States – took to the streets, parks and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast to coast rallies. By the end of 1970, the first Earth Day led to the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts which are in danger under the current administration.
This year’s Earth Day will have a very different look as we all experience “social distancing”. While public gatherings have been cancelled, there will be many virtual experiences on the internet.
Our Relationship with Creation committee was founded after the Provincial Chapter of 1995. Over the years, the committee has tried to educate the Spiritual Family of the Daughters of the Holy Spirit about the ecological crisis of our time. Using pamphlets, articles and days dedicated to aspects of the crisis, we have explored our relationship to Earth and how care for creation is a spiritual imperative. This past year the Province has adopted a Corporate Stance on this climate change, committing ourselves, corporately and individually to respond to this issue through prayer and action.
This commitment has been bolstered by the encyclical “Laudato Si” of Pope Francis who reminds us that “There is a nobility in the duty to care for creation through little daily actions …” (211); that “We must not think that these efforts are not going to chang the world” (212). This resonates with our Rule of Life art 10 : "By simple gestures or by difficult commitments, we seek together this new order of the world which God has inaugurated in Jesus and which must come into being".
With Pope Francis we can acclaim: “Everything is interconnected and this invites us to develop a spirituality of that global solidarity which flows from the Mystery of the Trinity (240). Rather than a problem to be solved, the world is a joyful mystery to be contemplated with gladness and praise.” (12)
“Creation committee”. USA - Published April 18, 2020
Contact. Michèle Bisaillon, committee member: Email