Protecting nature’s greatest gift

Patrick Looby Contributor
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“What do you think nature’s greatest gift is?”

It’s a question that deserves our contemplation, particularly on a day designated to honor the Earth, its valuable resources and its inherent beauty. While there are plenty of answers that could vie for the title – the rainforest, endangered species or the vast bodies of water that sustain life – there is one that most intimately touches each of our lives. And a new campaign designed to capture our attention and our hearts says it all:

According to CatholicVote.org, they have launched the “Celebrate Nature’s Greatest Gift” campaign in order “to get Americans to think more deeply about what it means to truly respect the Earth and creation.” The organization aptly notes that “trendy environmental groups too often view humans as the enemy of nature. We believe human beings are God’s greatest creation, and the Earth’s greatest resource.”

It’s a message that they have already brought to thousands in Chicago, Seattle and San Francisco, and it’s definitely turning heads. Their new YouTube video – viewed more than 15,000 times – shares the reactions of those who have had the opportunity to consider the campaign’s message firsthand. “You’re giving to the earth,” one woman says, “and you’re bringing something into the world.”

It’s a beautiful, life-affirming message. And we at the St Michael Society expect it will continue to build momentum. But we also want to challenge Earth Day celebrants to go beyond the smile the it brings and consider how this ad should move us to act. Because Earth Day isn’t just about appreciating the beauty of our greatest resource, it’s about protecting it.

–       Give up your seat on the metro or bus for pregnant woman or mom with kids

–       Collect your kids’ baby clothes and donate to a local pregnancy resource center

–       Offer to babysit for new parents who could use a night out

–       Purchase a grocery gift card for Catholic Charities to distribute to mothers in need of baby supplies

However you are planning to celebrate Earth Day today – whether you carpool to work, fill up your reusable travel mug at the coffee shop, or reuse a plastic bag instead of throwing it away – we hope you won’t forget the many small things you can do to help preserve the most important resource that benefits from all of these conservations: life itself.

“When I see your heavens, the work of your fingers,

the moon and stars that you set in place–

What are humans that you are mindful of them, mere mortals that you care for them?

Yet you have made them little less than a god, crowned them with glory and honor.

You have given them rule over the works of your hands, put all things at their feet:

All sheep and oxen, even the beasts of the field,

The birds of the air, the fish of the sea, and whatever swims the paths of the seas.

O LORD, our Lord, how awesome is your name through all the earth!”

Psalm 8

Patrick Looby is an editor of the St Michael Society (www.stmichaelsociety.com), a graduate of Wadhams Hall Seminary with a degree in Philosophy and Religious Studies, and has been teaching Theology and Philosophy for 13 years. In addition, he is a freelance writer and speaker on issues pertaining to the Catholic faith.