CREATION: Choices for a Positive Impact
May 31, 2022
Saint Francis of Assisi recognized the Divine Spirit in all things created. As followers of Saint Francis, we are committed to care for Mother Earth and all things related because we belong to the same family. Global warming is a fact that is not only alarming, but also divisive in some situations. Our own home in California has been affected in ways that will have consequences not only locally, but with a larger economic impact beyond the state. Recent studies show that California has resulted in higher-than-average temperatures and decreased rainfall due to global warming, causing increased occurrences of drought and wildfires. California currently produces a large percentage of the country’s vegetables, fruits, and nuts. The economic impact will affect various related industries across the country.
Alarming? Yes. Overwhelming? Maybe. Hopeless? Never! Our Franciscan community sees this as an opportunity to creatively meet the challenge head on. As Saint Francis taught us, “See what is necessary, then do what is possible, and soon you will be doing the impossible!” Our goal is to encounter the challenges that climate change has had on the lives of those around us. We want to examine what is immediately necessary, gather what is possible, so we can accomplish what may seem to be impossible. What affects our Mother Earth, our society, and our neighborhoods affect us all.
I was increasingly concerned with the specter of global warming and the affects it had on my environment. I felt that I needed to do something “big” other than just recycling my throw-aways. I was unsure of how I could make a substantial difference when I remembered St. Francis’ advice to “do what is possible.”
I was teaching at a prominent design college and took a fresh look at how I was teaching; I challenged my students to source and utilize sustainable materials in their assignments, and the results were more than I had envisioned. Not only did this promote critical thinking and creativity, but together we discovered new trends in design. The growing use of soy-based inks and dyes, biodegradable packaging, and plant-based materials that replaced synthetic textiles is not only amazing but is a viable way to be both profitable and ecologically responsible. I realized that I didn’t have to make a “big” move, just use the opportunities I already had to inspire a big difference. The students were not only challenged to use create innovative designs, but now will be professionally competitive in utilizing current industry trends. Big changes happen in what might seem like small opportunities.
The effects of global warming are a reality that is here to stay. How we choose to live with this reality, and how we embrace the opportunities to affect meaningful change can make the
“impossible” become possible. When one of us is affected, then we are all affected. But when one of us decides to make a change, then we are all transformed in the process.
Making a positive change begins with an individual choice to live more responsibly, not just for ourselves, but for the global environment at large. There are many ways in which to do this. You can start by eliminating wasteful practices that you might have taken for granted in the past, try to buy more sustainable products, cut down on unnecessary water usage, and even consider getting involved in community organizations dedicated to making a difference. Our Franciscan community is always open and welcome to those who want to join our efforts, whether in an active way, or just by following our journey for inspiration. Making a conscious choice for positive change and personal growth benefits us all. Together, we can make an impossible situation become a possible reality.