The Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur Ohio Province has responded to Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’ Action Platform by creating the Dorothy Stang Initiative for Laudato Si’ Action. While in the process of gathering data from sisters, associates, staff, donors and others in our circle, we were reminded that all steps we take are important - both big and small. We therefore introduce Your Little Bit of Good, a short weekly one-pager that focuses on some aspect of the environment. It is an attempt to bring forward small things we can do.

Teresa Phillips
Director of Justice, Peace and Care for Creation

Prayer

Silence my soul, these trees are prayers – I asked the tree, tell me about God… then it blossomed.

Silence my soul, the sun is prayer – I asked the sun, tell me about God… then it shined.

Silence my soul, the moon is prayer – I asked the moon, tell me about God… then it glowed.

Silence my soul, the earth is prayer – I asked the earth, tell me about God… then it gave life.

From Silence My Soul by Francisco Feliciano I came across this prayer from Rainbow Mennonite Church. This community sings it while children put prayers into their compost. What a lovely practice. You can click this Vimeo link in the article to hear the song.

Knowledge

This week, May 1—7 is International Compost Awareness Week. My first thought is, “well there is an awareness week for everything.”

We may laugh a little at these things, but, in actuality, they do serve a purpose. How many times in any week do you toss vegetable scraps into your trash or down the drain to your “sink monster” as my kids called the disposal when they were young. We do it without thinking.

Food scraps decomposing in an anaerobic environment, such as a city trash dump, produce methane gas. Methane is a fossil fuel and contributes to climate change. However, when food scraps decompose through an aerobic process, such as composting, methane-producing microbes are not active due to the presence of oxygen.

We know that greenhouse gases are a huge cause of our warming atmosphere. That warming atmosphere is, among other things, melting icebergs, softening the permafrost and making our weather more severe. We can do our part to make a difference. Next time you look to purchase a car, consider electric or hybrid. Consider eating less beef and dairy, as mass production of cows contribute much to the methane in the atmosphere. Yes, cows literally “produce” straight methane gas. And yes, composting food scraps has its role to play too! If you don’t garden and have no desire to have a compost bin in your yard, see the next column for a way to participate in the process. Everyone can take part in this. It is a very simple way to do Your Little Bit of Good.

Action

Learn about International Compost Awareness Week.

Interested in being a part of the process but have no interest in actually getting your hands dirty? You can collect your compost (I keep mine in the freezer) and give it to gardeners in your area. Check out Share Waste. They connect collectors with composters near them. All messages exchanged are through the website or app so you do not have to share your personal information.

Interested in the science behind this? You can click for information from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.