Man’s dominion over inanimate and other living beings granted by the Creator is not absolute; it is limited by concern for the quality of life of his neighbor, including generations to come; it requires a religious respect for the integrity of creation.” – Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2415: 373, 378
On this Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals and the environment, we are reminded by the Catechism of the Catholic Church that the Seventh Commandment calls upon us to respect creation. The educational apostolates of the U.S. Province take that call seriously.
The University has an ambitious 20-year Sustainability Strategy. “The pursuit of sustainability is directly related to the Catholic mission of the University,” its website states. The University’s sustainability goals include reducing emissions, conserving resources and increasing awareness. It also targets various constituents for what they can do to help create a sustainable campus.
The University of Portland has a presidential advisory committee on sustainability which monitors progress on specific goals such as climate neutrality, making recommendations for the improvement of services and facilities and facilitating and supporting education efforts on sustainability.
A portion of UP student activity fees goes toward a sustainability fund to assist the University in making progress toward environmental sustainability. In addition, UP has two environmentally sensitive buildings, Shiley and Swindells halls.
At King’s College, Br. David Andrews, C.S.C., senior representative of Food and Water Watch and former executive director of the National Catholic Rural Life Conference, presented the 2013 Feast of St. Francis Lecture on Oct. 3. He spoke about Catholic perspectives on contemporary issues of energy production. He has worked for more than 30 years on sustainable development, food and water issues and national and international public policy.
The Farm at Stonehill is an initiative of the Mission Division of Stonehill College. The Farm gives local food banks, soup kitchens and others who provide meals in the Easton, Mass., area with organic, sustainably grown fruits and vegetables. The entire campus community gets in on the action, from planting to getting the fields ready for winter. There were 149 student volunteers offering 702 volunteer hours in 2012. The Farm donated 10,000 pounds of produce to local providers last year.
Stonehill also has an Office of Sustainability, which aims to promote environmental awareness practices into everyday life at the College with its “Stonehill Goes Green” initiative. You can also read the Sustainability Blog on its website where students can offer ideas on helping the environment.
You can find out more about the Catholic perspective for renewing the earth by reading the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ “Invitation to Reflection and Action on Environment in Light of Catholic Social Teaching” (1991) on its website.
St. Francis’ Prayer for Peace