Francis and ecology


Sr. Frances Karovic, SMIC

The canticle of creation written by St. Francis is not new to us; however it is a significant reminder that God is the Source of All Being and that we are all sister and brother to one another and everything in creation deserves love and respect.

Francis praises Sister Water: humble, helpful, precious, and pure.  There is perhaps no other time that we have become so aware of our need and relatedness to water.  The environmental crisis of our times threatens the balance of nature and it is imperative that we include ecology as an integral dimension of contemplation in action.  It’s hard to imagine running out of water, but it could happen.  Between 1950 and 2000, the population in the US doubled while public demand for water more than tripled.

Nature shows us something about ourselves as she reveals to us the properties of our sister water.  We often think of water when we think of vacations- the beach, a quiet pond, a lovely stream or brook.  We gaze at the immense ocean and sense the infinity of the Creator.  Water and ourselves are kindred spirits.  Yet water cannot control her power; she is determined by others.  It is for us to describe whether we will enhance and generate water or weaken and annihilate her by our careless lack of care for creation.

There are a multitude of simple practices we can adopt to conserve water.  It takes mindfulness.  Consider that each of us uses an average of 100 gallons of water each day, enough to fill 1600 drinking glasses.  Some basic means of saving water include: A) Cook smart peel and clean vegetables in a bowl of water instead of under running water. B) Slow the flow install a slow flow faucet to reduce water consumption up to 50%. C) Shorten showers, test faucets and sprinklers for leaks.  Check the Internet for tips on water savers.

To speak and think about Water Conservation without mentioning Fracking would be incomplete.  In addition to fracking’s inherent dangers, adverse impact on human health and growing role in climate change, fracking plays a large part on drinking water quality and accessibility because the drilling is a major threat to water resources from pollution and overuse.

Multinational water companies are choosing to bottle municipal tap water because it’s cheaper to process.  As a result, almost half of all bottled water now comes from tap water sources.  Single use plastic bottles end up in our landfills, oceans and streams.

In late 2014, two monumental breakthroughs were achieved.  Federal legislation was introduced to ban Fracking in National Parks, Forests and on all public lands.  Governor Cuomo of New York announced a complete ban on fracking in the State.

In California, people are being helped to understand the interactions between fracking and critical State issues- water shortage, earthquakes, agriculture and the health of rural and underserved communities.

The US Province Investment portfolio seeks to invest in companies demonstrating sustainable business practices and we carefully monitor social responsible investing.  The portfolio seeks investment in companies that innovate and develop New Technologies to provide renewable energy and enhance efficiency, uphold human rights in global supply claims, support organic sustainable agriculture and forestry and have visionary leadership.

Now, back to St. Francis, as well as St. Kateri Tekakwitha, who are both patrons of Ecology.  We Franciscans are true to their Vision and Values and continue to become more mindful of how to live this out.