Members of the Ecology and Stewardship Club at St. Mary’s Dominican High School found several ways to embrace the international observance of Earth Day. An annual event, Earth Day is celebrated around the world on April 22 to demonstrate support for environmental protection. First celebrated in 1970, it now includes events coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network in more than 193 countries.
On the Microsoft Teams club page, senior Dasia Thomas wore her club hat and started the posts with, “Happy Earth Day wonderful stewards.”
“Happiest of all Earth Days, God’s wonderful stewards! I am going for a bike-ride today (fun-fact: I repaired my bike using all recycled materials from an old bike my grandma had!) and I am, of course, hugging some trees,” posted sophomore Jenna Thomas who shared a photo of her hugging a tree. “I also have a Purple Martin house in my backyard, and one bird laid some eggs! I’ll be doing some bird watching, too. Say a prayer to St. Francis today and thank the Lord for the beautiful gift of creation.”
Tilling the soil on Earth Day were 8th grader Julia Jones who started a garden and junior Sophia Forest who planted tomatoes.
Sophomore Nhu Thao (Betsy) Cao posted photos of a street in New Delhi taken October 28, 2019 and one taken April 20, 2020 that showed a striking contrast of India’s air quality, On her post, she observed, “We should never assume that it’s too late for the environment to improve. Even though Earth still has problems that are difficult to resolve like global warming, we can still significantly impact the rate and magnitude of these major global problems. These changes occurred just in a very short amount of time. Thank God for the resilience of our Earth!”
Those street photos reminded club moderator Joann Haydel of a drive she took with her family across Lake Pontchartrain for a hike on the Northshore. “We could see the whole Northshore from only two miles into our drive! Said Haydel. “I have never seen it that clear. It was the same way on our drive back to the city. It was gorgeous!”
On the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, Pope Francis called for greater protection for the planet. During his weekly general audience, the pope described humans’ failure as guardians of the Earth, as seen in our exploitation of resources and damages to ecosystems. “Because of our selfishness, we have failed in our responsibility to be guardians and stewards of the Earth,” he said. “We have polluted and despoiled it, endangering our very lives.”
Calling for rethinking how we approach the Earth, Pope Francis said instead of exploiting it for resources, we must remember that “we stand on holy ground,” and noted that all are capable of global responses. As witnessed in the collective action in our response to the coronavirus pandemic, “by showing solidarity with one another and embracing the most vulnerable in our midst,” he said.
Pope Francis cited the necessity of young people becoming involved, as well as the importance of international negotiation, and noted two major international conferences coming up — the United Nations Biodiversity Conference and the U.N. 26th Conference of Parties on climate change (COP26). Both have been postponed due to the coronavirus