I can be a lousy environmentalist. But a new year inspires me to be a better steward of creation.

Back in 2008, I wrote a column about why I was a lousy environmentalist. And so I figured, ten years on, why not do it again.

In that column, I checked through a list of my eco-shortcomings—too lazy for reusable shopping bags, too self-centered to use less electricity—and while I’m happy to say that I’ve made progress (I now do use reusable shopping bags and I’m better at the fuel-consumption thing, for instance) I have a way to go.

And so with a new year before me, I have a few resolutions to become a better steward of God’s creation, and better in general at allowing God’s grace to help.

First, the practical: I want to set up a real compost bin. For years now I've been saying that I don’t want to throw out food wastes and I don’t want my town or landscaper to haul away yard wastes—especially because my small lawn and gardens are fed and treated with organic products.

Similarly, I want to set up rain barrels. (Any suggestions or thoughts on that?) And I want to shop locally more (and less on Amazon)—especially for my produce.

Now that my house has been sealed and stuffed with insulation, I want to explore solar panels. There are a number of easy ways to do that in Rhode Island, but I suspect that my roof style and tree proximity will make solar not much of an option. But I want to have a professional determine that.

And if that doesn't work, there’s always the fallback purchase of green energy.

Lastly, I want to encourage more people around me—my landscaper, my supermarkets, my neighbors—to follow suit. After all, sometimes it takes just one person to change the way things are done.

After all, how can any of us expect to grow and live better lifestyles without God’s presence working within us?

But . . . I will need help to do all this. I’ll need to call on experts and invest in compost bins and rain barrels. I'll need to invest more time, too, which is always tough to find.

Most importantly, I’ll need to grow spiritually if I want to live virtuously and prudently.

I want to say the Rosary more and find fewer excuses to forego receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation. More frequent daily Mass wouldn't hurt, either. And, following the excellent advice of Cardinal Robert Sarah, I want to spend more time in solitude and allow God to fill it, and me, as he will.

After all, how can any of us expect to grow and live better lifestyles without God’s presence working within us?

I hope that a year from now I can look back and say, “Yep, I did that.” Or at least say that I tried. So stay tuned for more on my resolutions, and feel free to share yours. Maybe together, we can all rise to the challenge of living the lessons of Laudato Si’, as well as all the teachings that the Church graciously offers to bring about a better world in general and the salvation of souls.

May Mary, the Mother of God, pray for us all. And a happy and blessed New Year to you and yours!

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About the Blog

Catholic Ecology posts my regular column in the Rhode Island Catholic, as well as scientific and theological commentary about the latest eco-news, both within and outside of the Catholic Church. What is contained herein is but one person's attempt to teach and defend the Church's teachings - ecological and otherwise. As such, I offer all contents of this blog for approval of the bishops of the Church. It is my hope that nothing herein will lead anyone astray from truth.