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Experiencing ‘World on the Edge’

March 23, 2012

By Sister Monica Marie R.

A group of eight sisters from Omaha is reading and discussing the book World On The Edge by Lester R. Brown.  Our discussion often becomes very animated as each of us shares what she is gleaning, and I’m finding that that I am learning much from what the other sisters know and how they are putting into practice simple ways to be more environmentally friendly. We agree that many of the ways our parents and grandparents conserved the resources in their time would be wise for us to adopt now: saving rain water to wash hair, using the scraps to feed the chickens, and saving string from the feed bags.   

The first part of the book is depressing, as the author points out that unless some things change in the way we use our resources, there will not be enough food, water and clean air for the next generation. We also know that many people in the United States still do not believe that there is such a thing as global warming, even though Texas was burning up this past summer and this past winter was unusually warm. Not to mention all the devastating tornadoes experienced even before spring arrives in the Midwest.

Reading this book helps me to understand better the meaning of the Mercy commitment to “reverence Earth and work more effectively toward the sustainability of life and toward universal recognition of the fundamental right to water.” For example, I am more patient when I am driving behind a cyclist who is choosing to save gas and the environment by riding his bike. I noticed this last weekend when shopping for groceries that the butcher wrapped the meat in plastic wrap and placed it on a Styrofoam tray.  I wanted to say something to him, but I didn’t. I also noticed that at a religious community’s open house they were still using Styrofoam cups. When I am in the grocery store and the clerk says, “Is plastic all right?”  I want to scream out, “No, don’t you know that it takes fossil fuel to make all that plastic?”  But again I keep quiet and say, “Paper please.”   Recently I purchased a flat-screen TV, only to learn in the book that it will use more electricity.  There are many other examples of how I am becoming more aware of my wastefulness, and hopefully this awareness will transfer into more action and better decisions.

I purchased two additional copies of the book World on the Edge, to give to each of my brothers who still own land and are in the farming business.  My hope is that they too will become more aware of what is happening throughout the world in the production of food.  Hopefully this awareness will transfer into better decisions for them in how they take care of the land.

The second part of the book is much more positive and hopeful.  The author speaks about how much is already being done on a global scale to turn our nations around so that we are eliminating fossil fuel usage and now investing in sources like wind and solar to provide energy to our homes, cars and cities. I had no idea that nations throughout the world are accomplishing great things. Yet even as I say this, I continue to be dismayed by the fact that Nebraska may allow the Keystone XL pipeline to go through our state.

I would encourage all of you to purchase and read the book World on the Edge by Lester Brown.  You will be amazed at how informative it is and how it will help you to make some changes in your lifestyle.  We can make a difference and our world will be better off as a result of even our smallest efforts.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. marypen211 permalink
    March 25, 2012 8:03 am

    We are growing in consciousness of interdependence and the urgency of the need to change …will it be enough?

  2. Jean Markey-Duncan permalink
    March 30, 2012 9:24 am

    What a wonderful article about a personal awakening. Thank you Sister Monica Marie!

    I would like to add that while we continue to learn what we can do individually to honor the plant, we must join with others who are pushing for national and global policy that will make a true difference in the planet’s survival. Anything we do on an individual level helps raise the collective consciousness but those changes alone will not save God’s green earth. Educating ourselves and deepening our understanding about the true cost of our choices is important. The grocery store example is a good one. Paper and plastic both use fossil fuels only in a different ways. The better choice, of course, is to use reusable bags but then to go a step further and support legislation requiring that all grocery stores charge a fee for bags requested by their customers. After the store recoups their costs, any money left over could go toward green projects.

    Onward and upward! Thanks for the info on the book too.

    Jean Markey-Duncan

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