Saint Francis of Assisi has apparently come to be considered the Patron Saint of Earth Day, ecology, and all things “green.”
But the green movement does Francis no justice when insistence is placed on “green for green’s sake.”
The only thing the Francis was interested in for its own sake was God.
Yes, he had a great reverence for Creation–the earth, nature, the sun and moon and all the animals, plants and trees. But his reverence was born from his awe of the power and creativity and genius of God. To Francis, every bit of God’s creation reflected God’s glory–and that is what made creation something to be revered. Francis saw God’s glory, power, creativity and genius in everything and everyone, and strove to act accordingly.
So when we toss statistics around like these (which I did not make up, but which were sent to me in an email from the National Youth Commission of the Secular Franciscan Order):
One soft drink can recycled by each elementary school student in America would save 24.8 million cans! That would be enough aluminum to create 21 Boeing 737 airplanes!
One out of every 3 pounds of the waste that Americans generate is just for packaging, which each year adds up to 77 million tons–enough to fill the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans 37 times!
If every newspaper reader in the USA recycled just one typical Sunday paper, he or she would help create 212 million pounds of cellulose insulation–enough to insulate 118,767 Habitat for Humanity houses! That’s nearly twice as many houses as all the Habitat homes built in America so far!
let us remember that while it’s great to reduce waste, recycle or reuse what we have, and try to create less garbage, the reason we do this is to treat God’s creation with care–to be good stewards of what we have been given.
It’s not enough to be “green.” We should also be grateful.