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


Give us hearts to understand, never to take from creation’s beauty more than we give; never to destroy wantonly for the furtherance of greed; never to deny to give our hands for the building of earth’s beauty; never to take from her what we cannot use.

Give is hearts to understand that to destroy earth’s music is to create confusion; that to wreck her appearance is to blind us to beauty; that to callously pollute her fragrance is to make a house of stench; that as we care for her, she will care for us.


From the UN Environmental Sabbath Program


Let’s De-Plasticify!

As follow-up to the YLBG Plastics Series, we have a new short series on alternatives and the process of ridding (or at least reducing) plastics from your home.

My process is to go room-by-room and make changes as my budget allows. This week … your backyard cook-out, picnic, or social occasion.

From plates and cutlery to serving utensils, we have many ways we can reduce our use of plastic dinnerware.

Although many plastic plates, cups, bowls and serving utensils are technically recyclable, few curbside programs accept them. Even when they can be recycled, they must be clean. If you are doing the dishes anyway, you might as well use real ones.

This is an area where putting your money where your mouth is comes into play. There are alternatives. You will have to pay more for them. However, if those of us passionate about reducing plastics are willing to put forth the investment, the companies that make these products will grow. As they do, it will reduce the cost to us, the customer.

Just recently, Meg Sharp (Director of Mission Integration) purchased a service of disposable dinnerware for a board retreat. These are products made from the remains of sugarcane plants after they are processed. You wouldn’t know the cutlery wasn’t plastic! For a service for 100, the cost was $75.


One of the challenges in being eco-friendly is avoiding “greenwashing.” This is the practice where companies are not truly honest about their eco-friendly claims. Some forms of “compostable” or “biodegradable” plastics simply break down into micro-plastics, toxifying soil and ground water.

Another caution is to be aware of the raw material and processing of items. If the raw material uses chemicals or it takes a lot of fossil fuel to process something, that is a zero net gain when used.

Alternatives to plastic dinnerware come from many sources. Recycled paper, palm leaves, sugar cane fibers, avocado pits, and bamboo are just a few of the sources. Here are some suggestions for Eco-Friendly Dinnerwares. You need to scroll a little… a few ads at the top. Look here for ideas and comparisons on cutlery.