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Stewardship for Creation

Scriptural Story

Six Days of Creation and the Sabbath
God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth. God said, "See I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food. And it was so. God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all their multitude. And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the work that he had done in creation.
Genesis 1: 28 - 2: 3

The Sabbatical Year
The Lord spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai, saying: Speak to the people of Israel and say to them: When you enter the land that I am giving you, the land shall observe a Sabbath for the Lord. Six years you shall sow your field, and six years you shall prune your vineyard, and gather in their yield; but in the seventh year there shall be a sabbath of complete rest for the land, a sabbath for the Lord: you shall not sow your field or prune your vineyard. You shall not reap the aftergrowth of your harvest or gather the grapes of your unpruned vine: it shall be a year of complete rest for the land. You may eat what the land yields during its sabbath - you, your male and female slaves, your hired and your bound labourers who live with you; for your livestock also, and for the wild animals in your land all its yield shall be for food.
Leviticus 25: 1-7

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Description and Related Concepts

God's creation is a sacred gift, entrusted to our care. This value has deep biblical roots in both the Hebrew and Christian scriptures. Those "who practice stewardship recognize God as the origin of life, the given of freedom and the source of all they have and are and will be. They know themselves to be recipients and caretakers of God's many gifts. They are grateful for what they have received and eager to cultivate their gifts out of love for God and one another."
Stewardship: A Disciple's Response, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, December 1992

Clearly, stewardship has come to mean more a way of life than a single, particular action. Stewardship is a Christian lifestyle: "The life of stewardship is an ongoing process of integration whereby we relate our whole person to the whole action of God...By acknowledging our dependence upon God for all life, we are called to regard both material things and human capacities not as private possessions or as the property of limited groups, but as God's (Deitterich, p.10).
The New Dictionary of Catholic Social Thought, Judith Dwyer, 1994

The concept of an ordered universe and a common heritage both point to the necessity of developing in the heart of every individual and in the activities of every society a true sense of stewardship and of solidarity. It is the obligation of a responsible steward to be one who cares for the goods entrusted to him and not one who plunders, to be one who conserves and enhances and not one who destroys and dissipates...Responsible stewardship demands a consideration for the common good.
Responsible Stewardship: Ecology as a Moral Task, Archbishop Renato Martino. Judith Dwyer, ed. 3
God's glory is revealed in the natural world, yet we humans are presently destroying creation. In this light, the ecological crisis is also a profoundly religious crisis. In destroying creation we are limiting our ability to know and love God. "The ecological crisis is a moral issue" and "the responsibility of everyone," says Pope John Paul II. "Care for the environment is not an option. In the Christian perspective, it forms an integral part of our personal life and of life in society. Not to care for the environment is to ignore the Creator's plan for all of creation and results in an alienation of the human person."
A Pastoral Letter on the Christian Ecological Imperative
from the Social Affairs Commission, Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, October 4, 2003

Anchor Concepts: Lifestyle, Stewardship

Related Concepts:

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Scripture References

Rules of Warfare
If you besiege a town for a long time, making war against it in order to take it, you must not destroy its trees by wielding an ax against them. Although you may take food from them, You must not cut them down. Are trees in the field human beings that they should come under siege from you? You may destroy only the trees that you know do not produce food; you may cut them down for use in building siegeworks against the town that makes war with you, until it falls.
Deuteronomy 20: 19-20

Good Stewards of God's Grace
As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God's varied grace.
1 Peter 4:10

The Vine and the Branches
I am the true vine and my Father is the vine grower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit.
John 15:1-3

From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required; and from the one to whom much has been entrusted, even more will be demanded.
Luke 12:48

Parable of the Barren Fig Tree
Then Jesus told this parable: "A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and found none. So he said to the gardener, "See here! For three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree, and still I find none. Cut it down! Why should it be wasting the soil? He replied, "Sir, let it alone for one more year, until I dig around it and put manure on it. If it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down."
Luke 13:6-9

A Land of Milk and Honey
The Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with a terrifying display of power, and with signs and wonders; and he brought us into this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey. So now I bring the first of the fruit of the ground that you, O Lord, have given me." You shall set it down before the Lord your God and bow down before the Lord your God. Then you, together with the Levites and the aliens who reside among you, shall celebrate with all the bounty that the Lord your God has given to you and to your house.
Deuteronomy 26: 9-11

The Glory of God
The heavens are telling the glory of God;
and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours forth speech,
and night to night declares knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words;
their voice is not heard;
yet their voice goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.
In the heavens he has set a tent for the sun,
which comes out like a bridegroom from his wedding canopy,
and like a strong man runs its course with joy.
Its rising is from the end of the heavens,
and its circuit to the end of them;
and nothing is hidden from its heat.
Psalm 19: 1- 6

The Earth is the Lord's
The earth is the Lord's and all that is in it,
the world, and those who live in it;
for he has founded it on the seas,
and established it on the rivers.
Psalm 24:1

The Lord Made the Heavens
By the word of the Lord the heavens were made,
and all their host by the breath of his mouth.
He gathered the waters of the sea as in a bottle;
he put the deeps in storehouses.
Let all the earth fear the Lord;
let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him.
For he spoke, and it came to be;
he commanded, and it stood firm.
Psalm 33: 6-9

Praise to the God of Creation
Praise is due to you,
O God, in Zion;
and to you shall vows be performed,
O you who answer prayer!
To you all flesh shall come.
When deeds of iniquity overwhelm us,
you forgive our transgressions.
Happy are those whom you choose and bring near
to live in your courts.
We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house,
your holy temple.

By awesome deeds you answer us with deliverance,
O God of our salvation;
you are the hope of all the ends of the earth
and of the farthest seas.
By your strength you established the mountains;
you are girded with might.
You silence the roaring of the seas,
the roaring of their waves,
the tumult of the peoples.
Those who live at earth's farthest bounds are awed by your signs;
you make the gateways of the morning and the evening shout for joy.
You visit the earth and water it,
you greatly enrich it;
the river of God is full of water;
you provide the people with grain,
for so you have prepared it.

You water its furrows abundantly,
settling its ridges,
softening it with showers,
and blessing its growth.
You crown the year with your bounty;
your wagon tracks overflow with richness.
The pastures of the wilderness overflow,
the hills gird themselves with joy,
the meadows clothe themselves with flocks,
the valleys deck themselves with grain,
they shout and sing together for joy.
Psalm 65

The Lord is Robed in Majesty
The Lord is king, he is robed in majesty;
the Lord is robed, he is girded with strength.
He has established the world; it shall never be moved;
your throne is established from of old;
you are from everlasting.
The floods have lifted up, O Lord,
the floods have lifted up their voice;
the floods lift up their roaring.

More majestic than the thunders of mighty waters,
more majestic than the waves of the sea,
majestic on high is the Lord!

Your decrees are very sure;
holiness befits your house,
O Lord, for evermore.
Psalm 93

The Lord is a Great God
O come, let us sing to the Lord;
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
For the Lord is a great God,
and a great King above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth;
the heights of the mountains are his also.
The sea is his, for he made it,
and the dry land, which his hands have formed.

O come, let us worship and bow down,
let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!
For he is our God,
and we are the people of his pasture,
and the sheep of his hand.
O that today you would listen to his voice!
Do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah,
as on the day at Massah in the wilderness,
when your ancestors tested me,
and put me to the proof, though they had seen my work.
For forty years I loathed that generation
and said, ‘They are a people whose hearts go astray,
and they do not regard my ways."
Therefore in my anger I swore,
‘They shall not enter my rest."
Psalm 95

Bless the Lord
Bless the Lord, O my soul.
O Lord my God, you are very great.
You are clothed with honour and majesty,
wrapped in light as with a garment.
You stretch out the heavens like a tent,
you set the beams of your chambers on the waters,
you make the clouds your chariot,
you ride on the wings of the wind,
you make the winds your messengers,
fire and flame your ministers.

You set the earth on its foundations,
so that it shall never be shaken.
You cover it with the deep as with a garment;
the waters stood above the mountains.
At your rebuke they flee;
at the sound of your thunder they take to flight.
They rose up to the mountains, ran down to the valleys
to the place that you appointed for them.
You set a boundary that they may not pass,
so that they might not again cover the earth.

You make springs gush forth in the valleys;
they flow between the hills,
giving drink to every wild animal;
the wild asses quench their thirst.
By the streams the birds of the air have their habitation;
they sing among the branches.
From your lofty abode you water the mountains;
the earth is satisfied with the fruit of your work.

You cause the grass to grow for the cattle,
and plants for people to use,
to bring forth food from the earth,
and wine to gladden the human heart,
oil to make the face shine,
and bread to strengthen the human heart.
The trees of the Lord are watered abundantly,
the cedars of Lebanon that he planted.
In them the birds build their nests;
the stork has its home in the fir trees.
The high mountains are for the wild goats;
the rocks are a refuge for the coneys.
You have made the moon to mark the seasons;
the sun knows its time for setting.
You make darkness, and it is night,
when all the animals of the forest come creeping out.
The young lions roar for their prey,
seeking their food from God.
When the sun rises, they withdraw
and lie down in their dens.
People go out to their work
and to their labour until the evening.

O Lord, how manifold are your works!
In wisdom you have made them all;
the earth is full of your creatures.
Yonder is the sea, great and wide,
creeping things innumerable are there,
living things both small and great.
There go the ships,
and Leviathan that you formed to sport in it.

These all look to you
to give them their food in due season;
when you give to them, they gather it up;
when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.
When you hide your face, they are dismayed;
when you take away their breath, they die
and return to their dust.
When you send forth your spirit, they are created;
and you renew the face of the ground.

May the glory of the Lord endure for ever;
may the Lord rejoice in his works—
who looks on the earth and it trembles,
who touches the mountains and they smoke.
I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;
I will sing praise to my God while I have being.
May my meditation be pleasing to him,
for I rejoice in the Lord.
Let sinners be consumed from the earth,
and let the wicked be no more.
Bless the Lord, O my soul.
Praise the Lord!
Psalm 104

Give Thanks to the Lord
O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures for ever.
O give thanks to the God of gods,
for his steadfast love endures for ever.
O give thanks to the Lord of lords,
for his steadfast love endures for ever;
who alone does great wonders,
for his steadfast love endures for ever;
who by understanding made the heavens,
for his steadfast love endures for ever;
who spread out the earth on the waters,
for his steadfast love endures for ever;
who made the great lights,
for his steadfast love endures for ever;
the sun to rule over the day,
for his steadfast love endures for ever;
the moon and stars to rule over the night,
for his steadfast love endures for ever;
who struck Egypt through their firstborn,
for his steadfast love endures for ever;
and brought Israel out from among them,
for his steadfast love endures for ever;
with a strong hand and an outstretched arm,
for his steadfast love endures for ever;
who divided the Red Sea in two,
for his steadfast love endures for ever;
and made Israel pass through the midst of it,
for his steadfast love endures for ever;
but overthrew Pharaoh and his army in the Red Sea,
for his steadfast love endures for ever;
who led his people through the wilderness,
for his steadfast love endures for ever;
who struck down great kings,
for his steadfast love endures for ever;
and killed famous kings,
for his steadfast love endures for ever;
Sihon, king of the Amorites,
for his steadfast love endures for ever;
and Og, king of Bashan,
for his steadfast love endures for ever;
and gave their land as a heritage,
for his steadfast love endures for ever;
a heritage to his servant Israel,
for his steadfast love endures for ever.

It is he who remembered us in our low estate,
for his steadfast love endures for ever;
and rescued us from our foes,
for his steadfast love endures for ever;
who gives food to all flesh,
for his steadfast love endures for ever.

O give thanks to the God of heaven,
for his steadfast love endures for ever.
Psalm 136

Praise the Lord
Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
praise him in the heights!
Praise him, all his angels;
praise him, all his host!

Praise him, sun and moon;
praise him, all you shining stars!
Praise him, you highest heavens,
and you waters above the heavens!

Let them praise the name of the Lord,
for he commanded and they were created.
He established them for ever and ever;
he fixed their bounds, which cannot be passed.

Praise the Lord from the earth,
you sea monsters and all deeps,
fire and hail, snow and frost,
stormy wind fulfilling his command!

Mountains and all hills,
fruit trees and all cedars!
Wild animals and all cattle,
creeping things and flying birds!

Kings of the earth and all peoples,
princes and all rulers of the earth!
Young men and women alike,
old and young together!
Let them praise the name of the Lord,
for his name alone is exalted;
his glory is above earth and heaven.
He has raised up a horn for his people,
praise for all his faithful,
for the people of Israel who are close to him.
Praise the Lord!
Psalm 148

The Lord Loves All That Exists
For you love all things that exist,
and detest none of the things that you have made,
for you would not have made anything if you had hated it.
How would anything have endured if you had not willed it?
Or how would anything not called forth by you have been preserved?
You spare all things, for they are yours, O Lord, you who love the living.
Wisdom 11: 24-26

The Greatness of the Lord
Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind:
Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?
Gird up your loins like a man,
I will question you, and you shall declare to me.

‘Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell me, if you have understanding.
Who determined its measurements—surely you know!
Or who stretched the line upon it?
On what were its bases sunk,
or who laid its cornerstone
when the morning stars sang together
and all the heavenly beings shouted for joy?

‘Or who shut in the sea with doors
when it burst out from the womb?—
when I made the clouds its garment,
and thick darkness its swaddling band,
and prescribed bounds for it,
and set bars and doors,
and said, "Thus far shall you come, and no farther,
and here shall your proud waves be stopped"?

‘Have you commanded the morning since your days began,
and caused the dawn to know its place,
so that it might take hold of the skirts of the earth,
and the wicked be shaken out of it?
It is changed like clay under the seal,
and it is dyed like a garment.
Light is withheld from the wicked,
and their uplifted arm is broken.

‘Have you entered into the springs of the sea,
or walked in the recesses of the deep?
Have the gates of death been revealed to you,
or have you seen the gates of deep darkness?
Have you comprehended the expanse of the earth?
Declare, if you know all this.
‘Where is the way to the dwelling of light,
and where is the place of darkness,
that you may take it to its territory
and that you may discern the paths to its home?
Surely you know, for you were born then,
and the number of your days is great!

‘Have you entered the storehouses of the snow,
or have you seen the storehouses of the hail,
which I have reserved for the time of trouble,
for the day of battle and war?
What is the way to the place where the light is distributed,
or where the east wind is scattered upon the earth?

‘Who has cut a channel for the torrents of rain,
and a way for the thunderbolt,
to bring rain on a land where no one lives,
on the desert, which is empty of human life,
to satisfy the waste and desolate land,
and to make the ground put forth grass?

‘Has the rain a father,
or who has begotten the drops of dew?
From whose womb did the ice come forth,
and who has given birth to the hoar-frost of heaven?
The waters become hard like stone,
and the face of the deep is frozen.

‘Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades,
or loose the cords of Orion?
Can you lead forth the Mazzaroth in their season,
or can you guide the Bear with its children?
Do you know the ordinances of the heavens?
Can you establish their rule on the earth?

‘Can you lift up your voice to the clouds,
so that a flood of waters may cover you?
Can you send forth lightnings, so that they may go
and say to you, "Here we are"?
Who has put wisdom in the inward parts,
or given understanding to the mind?
Who has the wisdom to number the clouds?
Or who can tilt the waterskins of the heavens,
when the dust runs into a mass
and the clods cling together?

‘Can you hunt the prey for the lion,
or satisfy the appetite of the young lions,
when they crouch in their dens,
or lie in wait in their covert?
Who provides for the raven its prey,
when its young ones cry to God,
and wander about for lack of food?
Job 38

The Majesty of God's Creation
Do you know when the mountain goats give birth?
Do you observe the calving of the deer?
Can you number the months that they fulfil,
and do you know the time when they give birth,
when they crouch to give birth to their offspring,
and are delivered of their young?
Their young ones become strong, they grow up in the open;
they go forth, and do not return to them.

‘Who has let the wild ass go free?
Who has loosed the bonds of the swift ass,
to which I have given the steppe for its home,
the salt land for its dwelling-place?
It scorns the tumult of the city;
it does not hear the shouts of the driver.
It ranges the mountains as its pasture,
and it searches after every green thing.

‘Is the wild ox willing to serve you?
Will it spend the night at your crib?
Can you tie it in the furrow with ropes,
or will it harrow the valleys after you?
Will you depend on it because its strength is great,
and will you hand over your labour to it?
Do you have faith in it that it will return,
and bring your grain to your threshing-floor?

‘The ostrich's wings flap wildly,
though its pinions lack plumage.
For it leaves its eggs to the earth,
and lets them be warmed on the ground,
forgetting that a foot may crush them,
and that a wild animal may trample them.
It deals cruelly with its young, as if they were not its own;
though its labour should be in vain, yet it has no fear;
because God has made it forget wisdom,
and given it no share in understanding.
When it spreads its plumes aloft,
it laughs at the horse and its rider.

‘Do you give the horse its might?
Do you clothe its neck with mane?
Do you make it leap like the locust?
Its majestic snorting is terrible.
It paws violently, exults mightily;
it goes out to meet the weapons.
It laughs at fear, and is not dismayed;
it does not turn back from the sword.
Upon it rattle the quiver,
the flashing spear, and the javelin.
With fierceness and rage it swallows the ground;
it cannot stand still at the sound of the trumpet.
When the trumpet sounds, it says "Aha!"
From a distance it smells the battle,
the thunder of the captains, and the shouting.
‘Is it by your wisdom that the hawk soars,
and spreads its wings towards the south?
Is it at your command that the eagle mounts up
and makes its nest on high?
It lives on the rock and makes its home
in the fastness of the rocky crag.
From there it spies the prey;
its eyes see it from far away.
Its young ones suck up blood;
and where the slain are, there it is."
Job 39

Woe to Those Who Are Unjust
Alas for those who lie on beds of ivory,
and lounge on their couches,
and eat lambs from the flock,
and calves from the stall;
who sing idle songs to the sound of the harp,
and like David improvise on instruments of music;
who drink wine from bowls,
and anoint themselves with the finest oils,
but are not grieved over the ruin of Joseph!
Therefore they shall now be the first to go into exile,
and the revelry of the loungers shall pass away.
Amos 6: 4-6

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Church Teachings

Documents of Vatican II

5. Today's spiritual agitation and the changing conditions of life are part of a broader and deeper revolution. As a result of the latter, intellectual formation is ever increasingly based on the mathematical and natural sciences and on those dealing with man himself, while in the practical order the technology which stems from these sciences takes on mounting importance. This scientific spirit exerts a new kind of impact on the cultural sphere and on modes of thought. Technology is now transforming the face of the earth, and is already trying to master outer space.
Gaudium et Spes, (The Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World)

Catechism of the Catholic Church

God creates an ordered and good world
299 Because God creates through wisdom, his creation is ordered: "You have arranged all things by measure and number and weight." The universe, created in and by the eternal Word, the "image of the invisible God", is destined for and addressed to man, himself created in the "image of God" and called to a personal relationship with God. Our human understanding, which shares in the light of the divine intellect, can understand what God tells us by means of his creation, though not without great effort and only in a spirit of humility and respect before the Creator and his work. Because creation comes forth from God's goodness, it shares in that goodness - "And God saw that it was good. . . very good" - for God willed creation as a gift addressed to man, an inheritance destined for and entrusted to him. On many occasions the Church has had to defend the goodness of creation, including that of the physical world.

God transcends creation and is present to it.
God is infinitely greater than all his works: "You have set your glory above the heavens." Indeed, God's "greatness is unsearchable". But because he is the free and sovereign Creator, the first cause of all that exists, God is present to his creatures' inmost being: "In him we live and move and have our being." In the words of St. Augustine, God is "higher than my highest and more inward than my innermost self".

God upholds and sustains creation.
With creation, God does not abandon his creatures to themselves. He not only gives them being and existence, but also, and at every moment, upholds and sustains them in being, enables them to act and brings them to their final end. Recognizing this utter dependence with respect to the Creator is a source of wisdom and freedom, of joy and confidence:

337 God himself created the visible world in all its richness, diversity and order. Scripture presents the work of the Creator symbolically as a succession of six days of divine "work", concluded by the "rest" of the seventh day. On the subject of creation, the sacred text teaches the truths revealed by God for our salvation, permitting us to "recognize the inner nature, the value and the ordering of the whole of creation to the praise of God."

338 Nothing exists that does not owe its existence to God the Creator. The world began when
God's word drew it out of nothingness; all existent beings, all of nature, and all human history are rooted in this primordial event, the very genesis by which the world was constituted and time begun.

339 Each creature possesses its own particular goodness and perfection. For each one of the works of the "six days" it is said: "And God saw that it was good." "By the very nature of creation, material being is endowed with its own stability, truth and excellence, its own order and laws." Each of the various creatures, willed in its own being, reflects in its own way a ray of God's infinite wisdom and goodness. Man must therefore respect the particular goodness of every creature, to avoid any disordered use of things which would be in contempt of the Creator and would bring disastrous consequences for human beings and their environment.

340 God wills the interdependence of creatures. The sun and the moon, the cedar and the little flower, the eagle and the sparrow: the spectacle of their countless diversities and inequalities tells us that no creature is self-sufficient. Creatures exist only in dependence on each other, to complete each other, in the service of each other.

341 The beauty of the universe: The order and harmony of the created world results from the diversity of beings and from the relationships which exist among them. Man discovers them progressively as the laws of nature. They call forth the admiration of scholars. The beauty of creation reflects the infinite beauty of the Creator and ought to inspire the respect and submission of man's intellect and will.

342 The hierarchy of creatures is expressed by the order of the "six days", from the less perfect to the more perfect. God loves all his creatures and takes care of each one, even the sparrow. Nevertheless, Jesus said: "You are of more value than many sparrows", or again: "Of how much more value is a man than a sheep!"

343 Man is the summit of the Creator's work, as the inspired account expresses by clearly distinguishing the creation of man from that of the other creatures.

344 There is a solidarity among all creatures arising from the fact that all have the same Creator and are all ordered to his glory: May you be praised, O Lord, in all your creatures, especially brother sun, by whom you give us light for the day; he is beautiful, radiating great splendour, and offering us a symbol of you, the Most High. . .
May you be praised, my Lord, for sister water, who is very useful and humble, precious and chaste. . .
May you be praised, my Lord, for sister earth, our mother, who bears and feeds us, and produces the variety of fruits and dappled flowers and grasses. . .
Praise and bless my Lord, give thanks and serve him in all humility.

349 The eighth day. But for us a new day has dawned: the day of Christ's Resurrection. The seventh day completes the first creation. The eighth day begins the new creation. Thus, the work of creation culminates in the greater work of redemption. The first creation finds its meaning and its summit in the new creation in Christ, the splendor of which surpasses that of the first creation.

Respect for health
Life and physical health are precious gifts entrusted to us by God. We must take reasonable care of them, taking into account the needs of others and the common good.

Concern for the health of its citizens requires that society help in the attainment of living conditions that allow them to grow and reach maturity: food and clothing, housing, health care, basic education, employment, and social assistance.

2289 If morality requires respect for the life of the body, it does not make it an absolute value. It rejects a neo-pagan notion that tends to promote the cult of the body, to sacrifice everything for it's sake, to idolize physical perfection and success at sports. By its selective preference of the strong over the weak, such a conception can lead to the perversion of human relationships.

2290 The virtue of temperance disposes us to avoid every kind of excess: the abuse of food, alcohol, tobacco, or medicine. Those incur grave guilt who, by drunkenness or a love of speed, endanger their own and others' safety on the road, at sea, or in the air.

2291 The use of drugs inflicts very grave damage on human health and life. Their use, except on strictly therapeutic grounds, is a grave offence. Clandestine production of and trafficking in drugs are scandalous practices. They constitute direct co-operation in evil, since they encourage people to practices gravely contrary to the moral law.

Respect for the integrity of creation
The seventh commandment enjoins respect for the integrity of creation. Animals, like plants and inanimate beings, are by nature destined for the common good of past, present, and future humanity.195 Use of the mineral, vegetable, and animal resources of the universe cannot be divorced from respect for moral imperatives. Man's dominion over inanimate and other living beings granted by the Creator is not absolute; it is limited by concern for the quality of life of his neighbour, including generations to come; it requires a religious respect for the integrity of creation.

2416 Animals are God's creatures. He surrounds them with his providential care. By their mere existence they bless him and give him glory. Thus men owe them kindness. We should recall the gentleness with which saints like St. Francis of Assisi or St. Philip Neri treated animals.

2417 God entrusted animals to the stewardship of those whom he created in his own image. Hence it is legitimate to use animals for food and clothing. They may be domesticated to help man in his work and leisure. Medical and scientific experimentation on animals is a morally acceptable practice if it remains within reasonable limits and contributes to caring for or saving human lives.

2418 It is contrary to human dignity to cause animals to suffer or die needlessly. It is likewise unworthy to spend money on them that should as a priority go to the relief of human misery. One can love animals; one should not direct to them the affection due only to persons.

Other Church Documents

51 And how can we remain indifferent to the prospect of an ecological crisis which is making vast areas of our planet uninhabitable and hostile to humanity? Or by the problems of peace, so often threatened by the spectre of catastrophic wars? Or by contempt for the fundamental human rights of so many people, especially children? Countless are the emergencies to which every Christian heart must be sensitive.
Novo millennio ineunte, (At the Beginning of the New Millennium), Apostolic Letter of Pope John Paul II, January 6, 2001

Today the ecological crisis has assumed such proportions as to be the responsibility of everyone. As I have pointed out, its various aspects demonstrate the need for concerted efforts aimed at establishing the duties and obligations that belong to individuals, peoples, states and international community. This not only goes hand in hand with efforts to build true peace, but also confirms and reinforces those efforts in a concrete way. When the ecological crisis is set within the broader context of the search for peace within society, we can understand better the importance of giving attention to what the earth and its atmosphere are telling us: namely, that there is an order in the universe which must be respected, and that the human person, endowed with the capability of choosing freely, has a grave responsibility to preserve this order for the well-being of future generations. I wish to repeat that the ecological crisis is a moral issue. Even men and women without any particular religious conviction, but with an acute sense of their responsibilities for the common good, recognize their obligation to contribute to the restoration of a healthy environment. All the more should men and women who believe in God the creator, and who are thus convinced that there is a well-defined unity and order in the world, feel called to address the problem. Christians, in particular, realize that their responsibility within creation and their duty towards nature and the creator are an essential part of their faith. As a result, they are conscious of a vast field of ecumenical and interreligious cooperation opening up before them.
The Ecological Crisis, A Common Responsibility, Message Of His Holiness Pope John Paul II, For The Celebration Of The World Day Of Peace, January 1, 1990

21 While the horizon of man is thus being modified according to the images that are chosen for him, another transformation is making itself felt, one which is the dramatic and unexpected consequences of human activity. Man is suddenly becoming aware that by an illconsidered exploitation of nature he risks destroying it and becoming in his turn the victim of this degradation. Not only is the material environment becoming a permanent menace - pollution and refuse, new illnesses and absolute destructive capacity - but the human framework is no longer under man's control, thus creating an environment for tomorrow which may well be intolerable. This is a wide-ranging social problem which concerns the entire human family.
Octogesima Adveniens, (A Call to Action), Apostolic Letter of Pope Paul VI, 1971

God made man the steward of creation
1 In the hymn of praise proclaimed a few moments ago (Ps 148: 1-5), the Psalmist summons all creatures, calling them by name. Angels, sun, moon, stars and heavens appear on high; 22 things move upon the earth, as many as the letters of the Hebrew alphabet, in order to give an impression of fullness and totality. The believer, in a sense, is "the shepherd of being", that is, the one who leads all beings to God, inviting them to sing an "alleluia" of praise. The Psalm brings us into a sort of cosmic church, whose apse is the heavens and whose aisles are the regions of the world, in which the choir of God's creatures sings his praise.

On the one hand, this vision might represent a lost paradise and, on the other, the promised paradise. Not without reason, the horizon of a paradisal universe, which Genesis (chap. 2) put at the very origins of the world, is placed by Isaiah (chap. 11) and the Book of Revelation (chap. 21-22) at the end of history. Thus we see that man's harmony with his fellow beings, with creation and with God is the plan followed by the Creator. This plan was and is continually upset by human sin, which is inspired by an alternative plan depicted in the same Book of Genesis (chap. 3-11), which describes man's progressive conflictual tension with God, with his fellow human beings and even with nature.

2 The contrast between the two plans emerges clearly in the vocation to which humanity is called, according to the Bible, and in the consequences resulting from its infidelity to this call. The human creature receives a mission to govern creation in order to make all its potential shine. It is a delegation granted at the very origins of creation, when man and woman, who are the "image of God" (Gn 1: 27), receive the order to be fruitful and multiply, to fill the earth and subdue it, and to have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air and every living thing that moves upon the earth (cf. Gn 1: 28). St Gregory of Nyssa, one of the three great Cappadocian Fathers, commented: "God made man capable of carrying out his role as king of the earth.... Man was created in the image of the One who governs the universe. Everything demonstrates that from the beginning his nature was marked by royalty.... He is the living image who participates by his dignity in the perfection of the divine archetype" (De Hominis Opificio, 4: PG 44, 136).

3 Man's lordship, however, is not "absolute, but ministerial: it is a real reflection of the unique and infinite lordship of God. Hence man must exercise it with wisdom and love, sharing in the boundless wisdom and love of God" (Evangelium vitae, n. 52). In biblical language "naming" the creatures (cf. Gn 2: 19-20) is the sign of this mission of knowing and transforming created reality. It is not the mission of an absolute and unquestionable master, but of a steward of God's kingdom who is called to continue the Creator's work, a work of life and peace. His task, described in the Book of Wisdom, is to rule "the world in holiness and righteousness" (Wis 9: 3).

Unfortunately, if we scan the regions of our planet, we immediately see that humanity has disappointed God's expectations. Man, especially in our time, has without hesitation devastated wooded plains and valleys, polluted waters, disfigured the earth's habitat, made the air unbreathable, disturbed the hydrogeological and atmospheric systems, turned luxuriant areas into deserts and undertaken forms of unrestrained industrialization, degrading that "flowerbed" - to use an image from Dante Alighieri (Paradiso, XXII, 151) - which is the earth, our dwelling-place.

4 We must therefore encourage and support the "ecological conversion" which in recent decades has made humanity more sensitive to the catastrophe to which it has been heading. Man is no longer the Creator's "steward", but an autonomous despot, who is finally beginning to understand that he must stop at the edge of the abyss. "Another welcome sign is the growing attention being paid to the quality of life and to ecology, especially in more developed societies, where people's expectations are no longer concentrated so much on problems of survival as on the search for an overall improvement of living conditions" (Evangelium vitae, n. 27). At stake, then, is not only a "physical" ecology that is concerned to safeguard the habitat of the various living beings, but also a "human" ecology which makes the existence of creatures more dignified, by protecting the fundamental good of life in all its manifestations and by preparing for future generations an environment more in conformity with the Creator's plan.

5 In this rediscovered harmony with nature and with one another, men and women are once again walking in the garden of creation, seeking to make the goods of the earth available to all and not just to a privileged few, as the biblical jubilee suggests (cf. Lv 25: 8-13, 23). Among those marvels we find the Creator's voice, transmitted by heaven and earth, by night and day: a language "with no speech nor words; whose voice is not heard" and which can cross all boundaries (cf. Ps 19 [18]: 2-5).

The Book of Wisdom, echoed by Paul, celebrates God's presence in the world, recalling that "from the greatness and beauty of created things comes a corresponding perception of their Creator" (Wis 13: 5; cf. Rom 1: 20). This is also praised in the Jewish tradition of the Hasidim: "Where I wander - You! Where I ponder - You! ... In every trend, at every end, only You, You again, always You!" (M. Buber, Tales of the Hasidim [Italian ed., Milan 1979, p. 256]).
Message of His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, General Audience, Wednesday, January 17, 2001


In our day, there is a growing awareness that world peace is threatened not only by the arms race, regional conflicts and continued injustices among peoples and nations, but also by a lack of due respect for nature, by the plundering of natural resources and by a progressive decline in the quality of life. The sense of precariousness and insecurity that such a situation engenders is a seedbed for collective selfishness, disregard for others and dishonesty.

Faced with the widespread destruction of the environment, people everywhere are coming to understand that we cannot continue to use the goods of the earth as we have in the past. The public in general as well as political leaders are concerned about this problem, and experts from a wide range of disciplines are studying its causes. Moreover, a new ecological awareness is beginning to emerge which, rather than being downplayed, ought to be encouraged to develop into concrete programmes and initiatives.
Pope John Paul II, For The Celebration Of The World Day Of Peace, January 1, 1990

For complete text go to:

Caring For God's Creation - USCCB Environmental Justice Program
See website at

Renewing the Earth
An Invitation to Reflection and Action on Environment in Light of Catholic Social Teaching
A Pastoral Statement of the United States Catholic Conference
November 14, 1991

See website at

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Canadian/Ontario Documents

Responsible Stewardship
As subjects of creation, people are also called to be responsible stewards of natural resources in a socio-economic order (ND. nn, 19-24; WA, n.6). The resources of planet Earth are not limitless. The abuse and waste of finite resources affect the health and wellbeing of present and future generations. Nature should not be treated coldly and calculatingly as a mere storagehouse of commodities (Ps 104). In our times, humanity must learn to organize socioeconomic systems in such a way that nature remains sufficiently balanced and human needs are adequately satisfied (i.e., eco-development). This means finding ways of using capital and technology in partnership and harmony with nature. In this context, consideration needs to be given to sustainable models of development based on renewable as well as nonrenewable resources.
Ethical Reflections on Canada's Socio-Economic Order, The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, 1983

Call to Conversion: A Time for Action
As we look around us and read the "signs of the times," we face a challenging time of crisis and opportunity. This is a time to make important decisions. In religious terms, this time is a call to conversion.

We need to re-examine the ways we think and act, to affirm and support better what we are presently doing that is environmentally responsible and to critique and challenge what is irresponsible and unsustainable.

We invite everyone to become part of a wide ranging, action-oriented dialogue on how we can better care for creation:

As individuals and families:

How can we become more responsible stewards in our lifestyle choices, energy consumption, garbage and recycling practices, and in our everyday decisions as consumers, workers, investors and citizens?

As parents and educators:

How can we pass on to our youth a respect and appreciation for all God's creation as well as the confidence and hope that a more just and sustainable society is a historical possibility worth struggling to achieve?

As Church leaders and members:

How is the call to biblical stewardship communicated in the preaching, sacramental celebration, educational programs and management decisions of our parishes and church organizations?

As business, labour, and community leaders:

What is needed to make environmental responsibility a major priority, moving beyond unsustainable short term approaches to policies, institutions and economic initiatives that are sustainable and support the common good?

As elected government political leaders and public officials:

How can respect for the integrity of creation become an integral part of all government decision-making so that present day budgetary surpluses are not the result of an increased environmental deficit being passed on to our children and grandchildren?

A New Beginning
Scientists are telling us that in the face of rising global population and increased energy and natural resource consumption, we have a limited "window of opportunity" to change our environmentally destructive ways of relating to the earth. Failure to act in a timely and decisive manner will threaten the ability of the earth to nurture and sustain life as we know it.

This time of jubilee preparation is a call for "A New Beginning." The eco-justice message of the biblical jubilee is a challenge for us to embrace a right relationship with God, all human beings and all creation. This jubilee call is a call for us here and now to celebrate life, to care for creation.
Celebrate Life: Care for Creation, Alberta Conference of Catholic Bishops, October 4, 1998

A Pastoral Letter on the Christian Ecological Imperative
1The beauty and grandeur of nature touches each one of us. From panoramic vistas to the tiniest living form, nature is a constant source of wonder and awe. It is also a continuing revelation of the divine. Humans live within a vast community of life on earth. In the Jewish and Christian religious traditions, God is first described as the Creator who, as creation proceeded, "saw that it was good." God's love for all that exists was wondrously evident then, remains so now, and invites the active response of humankind.

2 To enter into ever-deeper relationship with God - this "Lover of Life" - entails striving to develop right relations with nature and with other human beings. But life on earth today is plagued with an unprecedented and accelerating ecological crisis. Deforestation, species extinction, climate change, ecosystem collapse, contamination of air and water, and soil erosion are just a few of the enormous ecological problems which we face in Canada and elsewhere in our world. How many of us remember a childhood spent playing under the sun, a beach we were once able to swim at, a river we were once able to drink from - but no more! The closing of the once overwhelmingly bountiful cod fishery in Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador is a particularly painful example of this crisis. Indeed, every region has been affected in some negative manner. Environmental health concerns are frequent, arising from the Sydney Tar Ponds in Nova Scotia to urban smog alerts in Toronto or Montreal, from contaminated mine sites in northern Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories to the safety of food that every Canadian family will eat.

3 God's glory is revealed in the natural world, yet we humans are presently destroying creation. In this light, the ecological crisis is also a profoundly religious crisis. In destroying creation we are limiting our ability to know and love God. "The ecological crisis is a moral issue" and "the responsibility of everyone," says Pope John Paul II. "Care for the environment is not an option. In the Christian perspective, it forms an integral part of our personal life and of life in society. Not to care for the environment is to ignore the Creator's plan for all of creation and results in an alienation of the human person."

A Religious Response
Praise be my Lord for our brother the wind,
and for air and cloud, calms and all weather,
by which you uphold life in all creatures.
-St. Francis of Assisi, The Canticle of the Sun

4 Throughout history, each people's religious beliefs have conditioned their relationship to their environment. Some Christians have developed the ecological acumen of saints. Others seem to have misinterpreted the Genesis account to "subdue" the earth and establish "dominion" over all living things. Pope John Paul II has emphasized the need for "ecological conversion," and we are encouraged that many Christian traditions are responding actively to the ecological crisis. They have recognized that churches have insufficiently come to grips with how aspects of Christian theology and tradition are implicated in the Western capitalist development model which has led to so much ecological ruin (not to mention the ecological disasters left by communist regimes). Christians are mining biblical and theological resources in order to gain insight into "eco-justice" issues. Others are collaborating by forming new ecumenical and interfaith alliances. The work to highlight a theology of creation that directs us towards the proper relationship between God and the entire earth community is most timely and appreciated, both within the churches and increasingly among environmental activists.

5 All spiritual traditions speak of the marvels of the earth: the overwhelming beauty, the vast array of creatures, the complex and interconnected weave of ecosystems. They also teach respect for the earth and call humans to live within its limits. Certainly the Christian tradition has both biblical and theological resources that could deter humans from further ecological ruin. Biblical teachings are rich with ecological guidance and wisdom. The bible has abundant images that connect the earth to God, and teach about God; the wind, water, soil, seeds, trees, birds, sheep. Many passages speak of the need to respect the land, for example. The metaphors of planting and tending, pruning and harvesting are used to speak of God and of life. The magnificent story of Job is a reminder that God loves and tends to all of creation. The rainbow, set by God in the clouds, "recalls the Covenant between myself and you and every living creature of every kind that is found on the earth."
A Pastoral Letter on the Christian Ecological Imperative from the Social Affairs Commission, Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, October 4, 2003, Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, (Patron Saint for Ecology)

For complete text go to CCCB website, Public Statements, October 4, 2003

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The world will never starve for want of wonders, but for want of wonder.
Gilbert K. Chesterton

God moves in a mysterious way,
His wonders to perform;
He plants his footsteps in the sea,
And rides upon the storm.
William Cowper

Nature knows no pause in progress and development, and attaches her curse on all inaction.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

A life in harmony with nature, the love of truth and virtue, will purge the eyes to understanding her text.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we only will tune in.
George Washington Carver

Man must go back to nature for information.
Thomas Paine

Whether man is disposed to yield to nature or to oppose her, he cannot do without a correct understanding of her language.
Jean Rostand

Nature is an infinite sphere whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere.
Blaise Pascal

Nature does not complete things. She is chaotic. Man must finish, and he does so by making a garden and building a wall.
Robert Frost

Nature encourages no looseness, pardons no errors.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

The ignorant man marvels at the exceptional; the wise man marvels at the common; the greatest wonder of all is the regularity of nature.
George Dana Boardman

All finite things reveal infinitude:
The mountain with its singular bright shade
Like the blue shine on freshly frozen snow,
The after-light upon ice-burdened pines;
Odor of basswood upon a mountain slope,
A scene beloved of bees;
Silence of water above a sunken tree:
The pure serene of memory of one man,--
A ripple widening from a single stone
Winding around the waters of the world.
Theodore Roethke

A flower falls, even though we love it; and a weed grows, even though we do not love it.

A morning-glory at my window satisfies me more than the metaphysics of books.
Walt Whitman

Perhaps the truth depends on a walk around the lake.
Wallace Stevens

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Web Resources

"Since its inception in 1971, Greenpeace has operated philosophically and tactically on the principle of peaceful protest against environmental degradation and injustice". Colourful website that features the organizations prominent global campaigns. The Canadian version of the site has current Greenpeace press releases on national environmental issues. The Greenpeace Kids section has information about whales, activism and a "how to" to be environmentally friendly. Extensive Teacher Resources Zone. Its strengths are its topical examples of environmental action at work and like many environmental sites, its Kids section. The Teacher Resource Zone features an excellent; grade appropriate lesson plans with links, ideas and resources from Kindergarten to Grade 10. The Greenpeace site's focus on campaigns and actions, despite their press releases, is thin on the guiding principles behind controversial campaigns like fur harvesting, nuclear power, and animal rights.

World Wildlife Fund
The WWF site is a pleasure for both teachers and students, engagingly presenting its mission of protecting the world's wildlife and wild lands. In addition to valuable information on forests, climate change, oceans, and endangered species, there is the excellent Expeditions section, where students can follow scientists who (most recently) work in the Central African Republic. Including are clear and accessible maps, photos, local animal information and daily dispatches by the researchers. The Kids Stuff and Fun Stuff sections are also a treat; they are filled with interactive games, quizzes, fact sheets and activities that balance entertainment and learning. The Educators section is one of the stronger ones available on the web, which contains free educator resources and modules for purchase.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
The ASPCA site is devoted to facilitating the adoption of animals, furthering pet care knowledge and expanding humane education. Follow Just for Kids to their Animal and children's site (, a colourful mix of games, animal and pet facts and an informative Ask Azula! question and answer forum.

Friends of the Earth
The world's largest federation of environmental groups, Friends of the Earth's sloppy layout hides interesting information about their global campaigns. The information under each campaign (including ones that are important but not often discussed like mining, desertification, Antarctica and ecological debts) differs according to size, but most include country specific initiatives, policy papers, report, and publications. A site that is strong on broad, global environmental issues and actions.

Catholic Stewardship
A very well developed site that includes descriptions of many Catholic publications on stewardship and development as well as conferences, news and other activities. Very much from the Catholic perspective.

Kairos - Canadian Ecumenical Jubilee Initiatives
KAIROS unites churches and religious organizations in a faithful ecumenical response to the call to "do justice, and to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God" (Micah 6:8). We deliberate on issues of common concern, advocate for social change and join with people of faith and goodwill in action for social transformation.

National Catholic Rural Life Conference
The National Catholic Rural Life Conference is a membership organization grounded in a spiritual tradition that brings together the Church, care of community and care of creation. It also contains resources around the ethics of eating as well as spirituality.

Earth Day Canada
This is an important website dedicated to Earth Day in Canada. It contains a wide variety of resources for schools and communities, as well as many useful links.

Earth Day Network
Founded by the organizers of the first Earth Day in 1970, Earth Day Network (EDN) promotes environmental citizenship and year round progressive action worldwide. Its mission is to build broad-based citizen support for sound, workable and effective environmental and sustainable development policies for all. Earth Day Network is a driving force steering environmental awareness around the world. Through Earth Day Network, activists connect, interact, and impact their communities, and create positive change in local, national, and global policies. EDN's international network reaches over 12,000 organizations in 174 countries, while the domestic program keeps over 3,000 groups and over 100,000 educators coordinating millions of community development and environmental protection activities throughout the year. As a result, Earth Day is the only event celebrated simultaneously around the globe by people of all backgrounds, faiths and nationalities. More than a half billion people participate in its campaigns every year.

Earth Day Kit
The Committee for Social Justice of the Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board has created this diverse collection of curricular and liturgical resources, links to relevant web sites for teachers, and suggested social action projects. Many of these are ready for use in classrooms or school assemblies. A CD of the complete kit, which also features a video presentation prepared by WaterCan, is available upon request (contact information available at )

Environment Canada
This is the official site of the Canadian Ministry of the Environment. Of particular interest is its "Green Lane" page ( which is Environment Canada's Internet resource for weather and environmental information. The Green Lane helps connect Canadians, exchange information and share knowledge for environmental decision-making.

EPA Global Warming Kids Site
This children's site is a creation of the Environmental Protection Agency of the US government and contains a good variety of resources and strategies.

Kids Domain Earth Day Page
Part of the larger "Kids Domain" learning sites, this page open up resources for teachers and children on the environment, in general, and on Earth Day, in particular.

Learning for a Sustainable Future
Learning for a Sustainable Future is a Canadian non-profit organization whose mandate is to work with educators from across Canada to integrate the concepts and principles of sustainable development into the curricula at all grade levels.

Teaching and Learning for a Sustainable Future
Teaching and Learning for a Sustainable Future is a multimedia teacher education programme published by UNESCO. It contains 100 hours (divided into 25 modules) of professional development for use in pre-service teacher courses as well as the in-service education of teachers, curriculum developers, education policy makers, and authors of educational materials.

UNESCO, and the international community in general, believes that we need to foster - through education - the values, behaviour, and lifestyles required for a sustainable future. Teaching and Learning for a Sustainable Future is rooted in a new vision of education that helps students better understand the world in which they live, addressing the complexity and interconnectedness of problems such as poverty, wasteful consumption, environmental degradation, population, health, conflict and human rights that threaten our future.

Teaching and Learning for a Sustainable Future will enable teachers to plan learning experiences that empower their students to develop and evaluate alternative visions of a sustainable future and to work creatively with others to help bring their visions of a better world into effect. It will also enhance the computer literacy of teachers and build their skills in using multimedia-based resources and strategies in their teaching.

Teaching and Learning for a Sustainable Future is available in two multimedia formats - a CDROM and an Internet programme.

Ontario Ministry of the Environment
This is the official web site of the Ontario Ministry of the Environment. It is particularly useful for accessing information on current environmental issues in Ontario.

The David Suzuki Foundation
This is the official site of the well known Canadian scientist and environmental activist, Dr. David Suzuki. As well as promoting his own work, the site offers a rich variety to links related to the environment.

United Nations
This rich, searchable site contains a wide variety of resources on the environment from the political to the practical.

The Earth Charter Initiative
This site provides the text of the Earth Charter in 30 languages as well as a variety of ideas and programs to implement it in your personal and social life. The Earth Charter Commission was formed in early 1997 to oversee the consultation and drafting process and to approve a final version of the Charter, which was released in March 2000, following a Commission meeting in Paris at the UNESCO headquarters. The members were chosen on the basis of their commitment to the cause and their ability to advance the project. The Commission created the Earth Charter Steering Committee to oversight the operations and programs of the Earth Charter Initiative, as well as offer guidance to the International Secretariat. The Earth Charter International Secretariat is based at the campus of the University for Peace in San José, Costa Rica.

United Nations Cyberschool Bus
This is a site designed for children and contains sections specifically for Earth Day (April 22 in Canada) and World Environment Day (June 5).

International Earth Day
This is the official site of this internationally observed celebration of the earth.

This site, which features projects for and by youth, invites you to consider starting your own project or linking up your students with another classroom across the world.

This Canadian charitable organization provides much useful information about Canadian and global water and sanitation issues, how WaterCan is helping to improve the lives of people in developing countries by increasing their access to safe drinking water, basic sanitation, and hygiene education - and how you can help! It's "Kid's Section" features many classroom ready activities. Web links to related sites are extensive.

Pumped Up For Peace
This site features a project of the United Nations to protect clean water sources around the world. You will find classroom resources as well as an invitation to participate in an actual project.

World Wildlife Fund Canada
Founded in 1967, World Wildlife Fund Canada has become one of the country's leading conservation organizations, enjoying the active support of more than 50,000 Canadians. As a member of the WWF International network, WWF Canada actively contributes to the achievement of the organization's mission:

To stop the degradation of the planet's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by:

  • conserving the world's biological diversity
  • ensuring that the use of renewable resources is sustainable
  • promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption

WWF Canada's 2000 - 2005 Conservation Program is tackling some of the most daunting conservation challenges facing the country, as well as the broader international community. Its energies are directed to completing a national network of marine protected areas, safeguarding the Arctic, supporting leading-edge research to protect Canadian wildlife and habitats, addressing priority conservation concerns for North America, and protecting Cuban wildlife and habitats. WWF employs a range of tools to achieve its conservation results. These include field research, scientific mapping, policy initiatives, market solutions and public education. WWF works closely with local communities and others who share the common goal of protecting the natural world. WWF's conservation results include the protection of 96 million acres of Canadian wilderness through the Endangered Spaces Campaign; the development and implementation of recovery plans for a number of species, including the St. Lawrence beluga whale and the right whale; the banning of carbofuran, a grasshopper spray implicated in the decline of the burrowing owl; and the protection of thousands of acres of tropical forests throughout Latin America.

The Water Stewards Network
The Water Stewards Network works to build cohesiveness among regional water networks emerging around the world and to emphasize the theme of stewardship in the global dialogue. This project also works to collect and disseminate informational resources on sustainable water management in order to empower communities to take more local responsibility, thereby rebuilding a culture of stewardship.

Public Citizen: Critical Mass Energy and Environmental Program
This organization works to protect citizens and the environment from the dangers posed by nuclear power and seeks policies that will lead to safe, affordable and environmentally sustainable energy. It advocates creation of an agricultural and food distribution system that guarantees safe, wholesome food produced in a humane and sustainable manner, and works to protect the world's fragile water resources from commodification, privatization, and mass diversion.

Forum on Religion and Ecology: Official Christianity Statements
This site features the original texts of official statements by a variety of Christian churches related to ecology.

Introduction to Religion and Ecology: World Religions
This site features articles dedicated to explaining the ecological positions of a variety of religious traditions.

Chief Seattle's Speech
While there remains controversy as to whether this speech was ever made, nonetheless, versions of the text (two are found on this site) continue to inspire. The speech, or portions of it, could be useful, for example, for an environmental assembly or liturgical celebration.

The Cosmic Walk
There are a variety of sites that offer this meditative prayer on the mystery of the unfolding universe. Find one that suites your purposes.

Catholic Church on Ecological Degradation
This site features links to a variety of texts, many of them from official Church sources, as related to environmental issues. Very useful for locating specific references to Catholic Church teaching.

Walking on Water
A Guide for Groups Exploring Faith and Justice designed with young adults in mind and open to faith groups of all ages. This useful and user friendly resource is a free, 94 page download, much of it classroom and/or retreat ready. It was prepared in collaboration with the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace and the Catholic Diocese of London, Ontario.

Canadian SPCA

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Links to Ontario Catholic Graduate Expectations

A Discerning Believer Formed in the Catholic Faith Community who:
CGE1c Actively reflects on God's Word as communicated through the Hebrew and Christian scriptures
CGE1e Speaks the language of life... "recognizing that life is an unearned gift and that a person entrusted with life does not own it but that one is called to protect and cherish it." (Witnesses to Faith)
An Effective Communicator who:
CGE2e Uses and integrates the Catholic faith tradition, in the critical analysis of the arts, media, technology and information systems to enhance the quality of life  
A Reflective and Creative Thinker who:

CGE3c Thinks reflectively and creatively to evaluate situations and solve problems

CGE3d Makes decisions in light of gospel values with an informed moral conscience

CGE3e Adopts a holistic approach to life by integrating learning from various subject areas and experience

CGE3f Examines, evaluates and applies knowledge of interdependent systems (physical, political, ethical, socio-economic and ecological) for the development of a just and compassionate society  
A Self-directed, Responsible, Life Long Learner who:  

CGE4d Responds to, manages and constructively influences change in a discerning manner

CGE4f Applies effective communication, decision-making, problem-solving, time and resource management skills
CGE4g Examines and reflects on one's personal values, abilities and aspirations influencing life's choices and opportunities  
CGE4h Participates in leisure and fitness activities for a balanced and healthy lifestyle
A Collaborative Contributor who:

CGE5g Achieves excellence, originality, and integrity in one’s own work and supports these qualities in the work of others

A Responsible Citizen who:
CGE7a Acts morally and legally as a person formed in Catholic traditions
CGE7b Accepts accountability for one's own actions
CGE7h Exercises the rights and responsibilities of Canadian citizenship
CGE7i Respects the environment and uses resources wisely
CGE7j Contributes to the common good
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Reflection Questions

Personal and Group Reflections

Personal Reflection:

1. I describe a time when personal and financial resources were put to the best use within our school community.

2. I recall a time when I was touched by the sacramental power of creation.

Small Group Discussion:

1. We share positive examples of stewardship for creation.

2. We describe times when resources were wasted.


1. We suggest creative strategies for promoting stewardship for creation within our school community.

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