Tips to Conserve Water
- TURN OFF THE TAPS – Don’t let water consumption run out of control. Save six litres of water a minute by turning off your tap while you brush your teeth.
- BOIL WHAT YOU NEED – Save water, money and energy by only boiling as many cups of water as you need.
- SHOWER WITH LESS – Every minute you spend in the shower uses up to 17 litres of water. Set a timer on your phone to keep your showers short. Switching to an efficient shower head will allow you to lather up in less water, which means you’ll save water and cut your bills.
- SAVE UP YOUR DIRTY CLOTHES – Washing a full machine load of clothes uses less water and energy than two half-loads. This also means lower bills.
- GET A LOW-FLUSH TOILET – The average household flushes about 5,000 times a year. Modern dual-flush systems save huge amounts of water. They use just six litres, or four with a reduced flush, much less than the 13 litres for each old-style single flush. If you can’t invest in a new toilet, fill a 2-litre bottle with water and place it in the back of the tank.
- STEAM YOUR VEGGIES – Steam your food to cut water usage and retain more natural nutrients. If you do boil, try using the leftover water as a tasty stock for soups; or let it cool and use it to water plants.
- REDUCE FOOD WASTE – It takes a lot of water to produce cereal, fruit and other foods. More than half of what we throw away could be eaten. Wasting less food also saves you money.
- TIME YOUR GARDENING – Water outdoor plants in the early morning, or at the end of the day to stop water immediately evaporating in sunlight and heat. Water the soil so that the liquid goes straight to the roots where it’s needed.
- CATCH RAINWATER – Collecting rainwater for home and landscaping is a great way to save money and conserve water. Use a barrel to collect the rainwater from the eavestroughs.
- NO MORE WASHING UP – Have a dishwasher? Fill it completely each time you run it and you’ll use less water than you would doing the dishes by hand.
- BE PLUMBING PREPARED – Regularly check your kitchen and bathroom pipes and faucets; and the dishwasher hose for slow leaks. Fixing leaky plumbing can prevent up to 60 litres of water going straight down the drain every week.
Tips for Living with Less Plastic
- Carry a Reusable Water Bottle
- Pack Your Lunch in Reusable Containers
- Say No to Disposable Straws and Cutlery
- Slow Down and Dine in
- Bring Your Own Shopping Bags
Many stores sell reusable shopping bags made from strong, durable, recyclable material. Some are insulated too! Help the planet and save money by purchasing inexpensive, eco-friendly shopping bags. Some stores have cardboard boxes and will gladly give them away if you ask for them to carry your groceries. Cardboard boxes are strong, durable and recyclable.
- Skip the Plastic Produce Bags
Sure, plastic bags are convenient and switching to alternatives can be a challenge. Yet, when we think about the harm to the environment and wildlife, we realize the importance of changing our habits. Make it a priority to limit plastic use whenever practical, especially single-use. Make your own reusable fabric and mesh produce bags with lightweight cotton fabric, mosquito netting, lace curtain fabric, and so on; or shop online for a selection of inexpensive products. Reusable produce bags could be a great fundraiser for councils with sewing expertise!
- Store Leftovers and Food Staples in Glass Jars
Jars can be washed, reused and eventually recycled. Food tastes fresher because glass doesn’t absorb odors from other foods. Glass is food safe as it doesn’t contain toxins or leak. Mason jars are great for storing cereal, grains, baking products, and more.
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We can all take practical steps to protect our planet from irreversible damage. Help your family and community to make a difference through simple lifestyle changes. Discuss the positive actions that everyone can take to generate less waste and promote a low-waste lifestyle. Every small sustainable change can generate a huge long-term environmental impact.
Reduce Your Carbon Footprint!
“LAUDATO SI’, mi’ Signore” – “Praise be to you, my Lord”. In the words of this beautiful canticle, Saint Francis of Assisi reminds us that our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us. “Praise be to you, my Lord, through our Sister, Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us, and who produces various fruit with coloured flowers and herbs”.
Saint Francis is the example par excellence of care for the vulnerable and of an integral ecology lived out joyfully and authentically. He is the patron saint of all who study and work in the area of ecology, and he is also much loved by non-Christians. He was particularly concerned for God’s creation and for the poor and outcast. He loved, and was deeply loved for his joy, his generous self-giving, his openheartedness. He was a mystic and a pilgrim who lived in simplicity and in wonderful harmony with God, with others, with nature and with himself. He shows us just how inseparable the bond is between concern for nature, justice for the poor, commitment to society, and interior peace.
Francis helps us to see that an integral ecology calls for openness to categories which transcend the language of mathematics and biology, and take us to the heart of what it is to be human. Just as happens when we fall in love with someone, whenever he would gaze at the sun, the moon or the smallest of animals, he burst into song, drawing all other creatures into his praise. He communed with all creation, even preaching to the flowers, inviting them “to praise the Lord, just as if they were endowed with reason”. His response to the world around him was so much more than intellectual appreciation or economic calculus, for to him each and every creature was a sister united to him by bonds of affection. That is why he felt called to care for all that exists. His disciple Saint Bonaventure tells us that, “from a reflection on the primary source of all things, filled with even more abundant piety, he would call creatures, no matter how small, by the name of ‘brother’ or ‘sister’”. Such a conviction cannot be written off as naive romanticism, for it affects the choices which determine our behaviour. If we approach nature and the environment without this openness to awe and wonder, if we no longer speak the language of fraternity and beauty in our relationship with the world, our attitude will be that of masters, consumers, ruthless exploiters, unable to set limits on their immediate needs. By contrast, if we feel intimately united with all that exists, then sobriety and care will well up spontaneously. The poverty and austerity of Saint Francis were no mere veneer of asceticism, but something much more radical: a refusal to turn reality into an object simply to be used and controlled.
What is more, Saint Francis, faithful to Scripture, invites us to see nature as a magnificent book in which God speaks to us and grants us a glimpse of his infinite beauty and goodness. “Through the greatness and the beauty of creatures one comes to know by analogy their maker” (Wis 13:5); indeed, “his eternal power and divinity have been made known through his works since the creation of the world” (Rom 1:20). For this reason, Francis asked that part of the friary garden always be left untouched, so that wild flowers and herbs could grow there, and those who saw them could raise their minds to God, the Creator of such beauty. Rather than a problem to be solved, the world is a joyful mystery to be contemplated with gladness and praise.
Read the Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’ of the Holy Father Francis on Care for our Common Home.
Living Out Laudato Si'
On the occasion of the third World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, the Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) published a new resource entitled Living Out Laudato Si': A Commentary and Practical Resource for Canadian Catholics. The preface of the document, written by the Honourable Graydon Nicholas, CM ONB, former Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick, from the Tobique First Nation, states that this new resource not only presents Catholic Social Teaching but "also raises many of the environmental difficulties facing Canadians today and challenges us to discuss them frankly."
The Canadian Catholic Bishops hope this resource would "help Catholics, whether individually or in groups, to engage more deeply with the challenge of Laudato Si'." The resource is organized into six chapters, each based on one of the six chapters of the encyclical. Each chapter concludes with a series of reflection questions and resources for action, organized under the headings See, Learn, Pray, Act.
The Bishops also express their desire that "this resource may allow both individuals and groups to take up Pope Francis' invitation to engage in an open and honest conversation about our current crises concerning the environment, our economies and our societies." They continue in expressing the wish that the use of this simple resource will be "a small part of your journey to a deeper faith and a life of greater solidarity with those who share our common home."
The 30-page document, which is available only online, can be accessed on the CCCB website at http://www.cccb.ca/site/images/stories/pdf/Living_Out_Laudato_Si_En.pdf.
Laudato Si' Prayers
A PRAYER FOR OUR EARTH
All-powerful God, you are present in the whole universe
and in the smallest of your creatures.
You embrace with your tenderness all that exists.
Pour out upon us the power of your love,
that we may protect life and beauty.
Fill us with peace, that we may live
as brothers and sisters, harming no one.
O God of the poor,
help us to rescue the abandoned
and forgotten of this earth,
so precious in your eyes.
Bring healing to our lives,
that we may protect the world and not prey on it,
that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction.
Touch the hearts
of those who look only for gain
at the expense of the poor and the earth.
Teach us to discover the worth of each thing,
to be filled with awe and contemplation,
to recognize that we are profoundly united
with every creature
as we journey towards your infinite light.
We thank you for being with us each day.
Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle
for justice, love and peace.
A CHRISTIAN PRAYER IN UNION WITH CREATION
Father, we praise you with all your creatures.
They came forth from your all-powerful hand;
they are yours, filled with your presence
and your tender love.
Praise be to you!
Son of God, Jesus,
through you all things were made.
You were formed in the womb of Mary our Mother, you became part of this earth,
and you gazed upon this world with human eyes.
Today you are alive in every creature
in your risen glory.
Praise be to you!
Holy Spirit, by your light
you guide this world towards the Father’s love
and accompany creation as it groans in travail. You also dwell
in our hearts
and you inspire us to do what is good.
Praise be to you!
Triune Lord, wondrous community of infinite love,
teach us to contemplate you
in the beauty of the universe,
for all things speak of you.
Awaken our praise and thankfulness
for every being that you have made.
Give us the grace to feel profoundly joined
to everything that is.
God of love, show us our place in this world
as channels of your love
for all the creatures of this earth,
for not one of them is forgotten in your sight.
Enlighten those who possess power and money
that they may avoid the sin of indifference,
that they may love the common good,
advance the weak,
and care for this world in which we live.
The poor and the earth are crying out.
O Lord, seize us with your power and light,
help us to protect all life,
to prepare for a better future,
for the coming of your Kingdom
of justice, peace, love and beauty.
Praise be to you!
Pope Francis _20150524_enciclica-laudato-si.pdf