Earth Partners Working Group

Current Sustainability Practices 

Curious about what we do or have done around the CSJ campus and beyond for sustainability? Watch this video for more information –  we promise you will learn something new!

CSJ Laudato Si’ Week

The Carondelet Congregational Leadership Team creatively honored the 5th Anniversary of Pope Francis’s Encyclical “Laudato Si’” with prayers, videos, presentations and reflection resources throughout the week of May 16 – 24.  The CSJ Congregation online activities included:

  • Reading Laudato Si’.
  • Video and community online discussion of the Frontline documentary Plastic Wars (PBS Frontline Series) on Saturday, May 16.
  • Hosted an interactive presentation called “The Be-attitudes for Care of Our Common Home” by Lin Neil, CSJ, on May 17.
  • Video and community online discussion of the The Story of Plastic (Discovery Channel) on May 18.
  • Presentation: “Living Simply in a Consumer Society” by Lin Neil, CSJ
  • Having learned about the dangers of plastics, there were also a variety of practical advocacy actions to address pollution both personally and systematically throughout the week as well.

CSJ Earth Day

This year’s CSJ Earth Day activities were adapted to honor the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day with a special prayer and reflection resources. Although Earth Day has passed, these resources can be helpful every day as we prayer, reflect, and act in creating a new earth.

  • Pray and reflect with the CSJ Earth Day Resource called “Creating a New Earth.”   Download the preparation guide and the prayer service text.
  • Reflect with a local CSJ Earth Day Resource called “Our Planet, Our Home” created by our St. Kate’s student interns. Use this throughout the week (an earth challenge is included).
  • Members of the CSJ Earth Partners working group worked with and supported an Archdiocesan Care for Creation Team Earth Day two part prayer event on April 22, including Intentional Time in Nature and an evening Communal Online Prayer Vigil at 5:30 p.m. For more information, please view this flyer.

CSJ Community Garden

Earth Partners, Celeste’s Dream, St. Kate’s Student Interns, the St. Kate’s Bio Club and St. Kate’s Food Justice Coalition continue to collaborate in preparing and maintaining community garden beds on CSJ and St. Kate’s campuses in which some of the produce is and will be distributed through the St. Kates Food Shelf throughout the growing season.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Climate Change: A Focus on Energy Consumption in MN

by Karen Olson Johnson and Jennifer Tacheny, Earth Partners Working Group of the Justice Commission 

As we write this article, COP24 – the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change – convenes in Katowice, Poland.  Here, leaders from around the world talk about how we can reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and support communities impacted by our changing climate.  Recent UN and national reports on climate change show that climate threats are imminent.  From energy consumption to food waste, we have to get to work in changing our behavior for the life of the planet.

In a recent article for MINNPOST by Bob Litterman posted on November 11, 2019, he discussed the state of energy consumption in the state of Minnesota. One might think that with the emphasis on renewable energy in so many sectors of our lives, we have moved the bar and are on the road to an energy transition away from fossil fuels. According to Litterman, the category of renewable energy that includes solar, wind, and hydro sources makes up 25 percent of all of the power that we consume here in this state.

However, we still burn coal to manufacture 39 percent of our energy. Natural gas makes up 12 percent of Minnesota’s energy production followed by nuclear power filling in the remaining percentage. Yes, in our state, over half of the energy we produce comes from the burning of fossil fuels, the most dangerous and dirty form of energy production that is directly linked to warming the planet. It is 2018 and we still burn a fuel that pollutes and is responsible for heating the planet and is rapidly pushing us to the brink of no return in planetary shifts.

To quote Mr Litterman, “In the words of a recent call to action by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, averting the dangerous overheating of the planet will “require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society.”

Clearly, both individual and collective actions are needed to shift our energy use.  The Province has taken steps to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels by investing in geo-thermal and purchasing our electrical energy through Xcel Energy’s Windsource program.  If you are interested in learning more about the Windsource program, please visit https://www.xcelenergy.com/programs_and_rebates/residential_programs_and_rebates/renewable_energy_options_residential/windsource_for_residences/windsource_for_residences_-_pricing_terms_and_conditions.

As a Province, we’ve taken a few steps, and of course we could be doing more, to mitigate our contribution to climate change.  Toward this end, a group of Province employees responsible for buildings and grounds is currently collaborating with Earth Partners to look at Sustainability Goals for the Province.  We will update the community on our work in the next Together.  If you are interested in learning more or participating in this work, please contact Jennifer Tacheny, jtacheny@csjstpaul.org or 651-696-2872.

 


Talking About Food and Global Warming

By Jennifer Tacheny, Co-Director of Celeste’s Dream and Karen Olson, CSJ Consociate

The Earth Partners Working Group of the Justice Commission is currently discussing Paul Hawken’s New York Times Bestseller, Drawdown: The most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse global warming.  In this incredible book, Hawken and his team of seventy Drawdown Fellows from twenty-two countries lay out the eighty most impactful actions we can take to reach ‘drawdown,’ the technical term designating the point in time at which greenhouse gasses peak and then will begin to decline.

Surprisingly, actions related to food production, consumption and waste make up four of the top eleven most impactful actions to reverse global warming of the eighty identified in the book. For our part, Earth Partners is learning more about the huge connection between food and global warming.  We are discussing and assessing how changing behavior both individually and collectively around food might be a courageous action to reverse global warming.

By far, the most impactful action regarding food that will impact global warming is reducing our food waste (Ranked number 3 of the 80 possible actions).  Hawken highlights the following data:

  • A third of the food raised or prepared globally does not make it from the farm or factory to the fork and up to 35 percent of food in high-income economies is thrown out by consumers.
  • The food we waste contributes to roughly 8% of total greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Ranked with countries, production of food is the third largest emitter of greenhouse gasses globally, just behind the countries of the United States and China.
  • Consider this data about food while knowing that hunger is a chronic condition for nearly 800 million people worldwide.

These statistics and the world’s hungry compel us to consider our own food waste and how we might waste less. What decisions can we make individually and collectively to address reducing our food waste? We encourage you to read Drawdown and join us in reducing food waste to positively impact climate change.

You can also learn what you can do about food waste. Use the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s “Food: Too good to Waste” toolkit to measure how much food is really going to waste in your household and ways to reduce food waste at home and in your community. https://www.epa.gov/recycle/reducing-wasted-food-home#toolkit.

 


Mission and Goals

Earth Partner Purpose: To raise awareness of the interconnectedness of all of creation and change behavior, individually and collectively, for the life of the planet.

Goals 2020-21:

  • Raise awareness and educate on sustainability actions we are taking as a community.
  • Collaborate with other groups internally and externally to offer programs and educational opportunities.
  • Support development of goals for the Province Environmental
    • Sustainability Plan.
  • Collaborate with two working groups (Confronting Whiteness and Racism and Native American Awareness) on the topic of environmental racism to educate, raise awareness, and take action as possibilities arise, e.g., Myser Initiative, Just Water programming, JPIC (Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation) gathering, Community Assembly.
  • Engage in and support Congregational efforts around environmental sustainability, e.g., Environmental Guidelines, JPIC, Season of Creation programming, reduction of single-use plastics.
  • Support Celeste’s Dream in work on President Roloff’s Food Insecurity and Waste Committee work at St. Kate’s, including continued support of food shelf.

For more information contact Marty Roers at mroers@csjstpaul.org.