Action - 9 May 2019

en - Developing action to Care for the Earth through pride in one’s neighbourhood.

In October 2018, according to the Irish Times, Ballymun was deemed to be one of the worst areas in Dublin “where widespread dumping was observed …with areas becoming more littered” “Lack of pride” was blamed for rising litter in poor areas.

This report was a challenge/opportunity for local groups in Ballymun to draw attention to the need for a collaborative effort in cleaning up the area, and in partnering with groups concerned with Care of the Earth. The the strong words of Pope Francis in Laudato Si as he talked about pollution challenged us ; “The earth, our home, is beginning to look more like an immense pile of filth......In many parts of the planet, the elderly lament that once beautiful landscapes are now covered with rubbish” (Laudato Si 21)

Over the past three years, I’ve been part of a ‘Sisters’ group in Ballymun reflecting on Laudato Si. In November 2018 we organised a very successful recycling workshop. As a follow-up one of the participants John O’Donohue who is a great lover of nature and a gardener, invited our group to join in a ‘clean up’. He also introduced us to the ‘Tidy Ballymun’ group. This group combines picking up litter with learning about re-using and recycling, focussing especially on the importance of separating the various recyclable items.

An interesting learning was that aluminium/steel cans used for soft drinks and alcohol drinks are infinitely recyclable. This means they can be melted down and endlessly reused with absolutely no loss of quality in what’s known as ‘closed loop’ recycling. A campaign about this is called EVERY CAN COUNTS.

We are learning too about the importance of sowing ‘Bee friendly’ plants and flowers as well as valuing wild flowers which are essential to the pollination work done by bees and vital to the survival of the bee population. Bees are critical to the survival of the whole eco system.

Our efforts seek to engage with all groups in the community. The Local Council provides the necessary materials (gloves, grab sticks and bags etc.) to community groups who volunteer to clean up and beautify the public spaces. Our group meets every Wednesday for discussion, reflection and practical work and hope we are helping one another to “Reduce, Recover, Re-use, Recycle, Repair” ….

For the Sisters group Laudato Si is an integral part of our spirituality. We represent different Orders ; Columban ; Infant Jesus ; Mercy ; Holy Faith ; and Little Sisters of the Assumption. Some Sisters are active in Parish Ministry and hope to engage the parish clergy in sharing the message of Laudato Si as part of their ministry. But this is a slow process as priests seem to be overwhelmed with traditional Sacramental ministry and many appear not to see the message of Laudato Si as part of their ministry. Our prayer is that all parishes/communities will respond to the urgency of Laudato Si.

We are reminded about Pope Francis’ words about St Francis “ I believe that St Francis is the example par excellence of care for the vulnerable and of an integral ecology lived out joyfully and authentically….. He was particularly concerned for God’s creation and for the poor and outcast. ..... He shows us just how inseparable the bond is between concern for nature, justice for the poor, commitment to society, and interior peace” (Laudato Si 10)

In our LSA family the 2017 Chapter says ; “We are called to an ecological conversion in finding alternative ways to live on this earth…..”

This does not necessarily involve big steps but a real change in consciousness in how our everyday living has either a positive or negative effect on our local environment and at a global level may surely have consequences for our entire human family. Do we reflect on the ‘unconscious ways’ we are contributing to destroying our beautiful earth ? To give the final word to Pope Francis “For believers, this becomes a question of fidelity to the Creator, since God created the world for everyone. Hence every ecological approach needs to incorporate a social perspective which takes into account the fundamental rights of the poor and underprivileged.” (Laudato Si 93)

Lena Deevy, little sister of the Assumption