Reimagine, Recreate, Restore the ecosystems on our planet
World Environment Day on 5 June, organised by the United Nations Environment Programme, encourages worldwide awareness and action for the protection of our environment.
Pope Francis continues to call the Church and the world to acknowledge the urgency of our environmental challenges. The Pope’s encyclical Laudato Si’ emphasised that our care for the environment is linked to our relationship with all humanity, especially the most disadvantaged and vulnerable in our world. Protecting the environment is inseparable from the call to treat all people with dignity and respect.
World Environment Day invites us to consider the responsibility and privilege of caring for God’s creation. Actions we take every day can help protect the environment. Here are a few simple ways around the home that you can make a difference.
Locked down? Our garden is close by…
Manage your own garden
Work in your garden, backyard, however big or small, in ways that boost nature. Plant earth-friendly indigenous species and make compost. Encourage others to do the same. Ecological diversity and liveability of a whole city can be enhanced when we work together.
Create ideal conditions
Allow native trees to germinate or re-sprout naturally. Remove invasive plant species that compete with young indigenous trees for light and water. Manage weeds by removing them by hand where possible.
Mulch your garden
Mulch is very beneficial to a garden, it can consist of stones, gravel or organic wood chips, straw or leaf litter. Mulch reduces weed growth, regulates soil temperature and improves soil health, encouraging local insects, birds and small animals to live there. Mulch helps to retain water, reducing evaporative water loss by more than 70%, making it good for your water bill as well.
Protect indigenous birds and wildlife
Exclude non-indigenous animals that could eat young shoots and remove other vegetation. Ensure your cat has a working bell on its collar, doesn’t leave your property, and remains indoors at night. Domestic cats kill an estimated 230 million native Australian birds, reptiles and mammals every year, according to a recent study that quantified the pet’s national toll on native animals.*
Protect our waterways
Microplastics are everywhere. The CSIRO estimates 14 million tonnes are found on the seafloor. Buy clothing made from natural fibres, avoid products with excess packaging, recycle plastics and other materials to keep them out of landfill and our waterways. Return soft plastics to the supermarket for recycling, bring bags from home when shopping and reuse them. **
Watch some informative videos and respond:
- David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet (Netflix)
- War On Waste (ABC iview)
- Why Care for our Environment? (Laudato Si’ Explained – YouTube)
For further reading
- World Environment Day: article by Fr Andrew Hamilton (Catholic Outlook)
- Pope Francis on the ‘ecological conversion’ that led him to ‘Laudato Si’ article (America, the Jesuit Review)
“Ecological conversion enables us to see the general harmony, the correlation of everything; how everything is related, everything is in relation.”
By Julie Douglas
* CSIRO Wildlife Research Journal (September 2019)
** CSIRO media release: 14 million tonnes of microplastic on the seafloor (October 2020)