“We brought nothing into this world. You have come into the world, you found a full table spread for you. But the Lord’s is the earth and its fullness. God bestows the world on the poor, he bestows it on the rich.”
– St. Augustine (Sermon 29, 2)
What St. Augustine Says
While there is considerable debate around the world about the causes and extent of the ecological crisis our world is facing, there is little debate over the fact that the environment has and continues to suffer damage. At the core of the discussion is therefore the question about how we as a human family will share the goods of the earth in the present while considering what we will pass on to future generations. The Roman Catholic Church teaches us the Earth and all creation are a gift from God, given to be shared by all of us, including future generations. This is one of the seven principles of Catholic Social Teaching. Both Augustine and Catholic Social Teaching invite us to a discussion on how to care for the environment that takes into consideration the common good of all people, including present and future generations.
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In the Words of Augustine
"Whenever you show greater concern for the common good than for your own, you may know that you are growing in charity."
The Rule V, 31
"The heavens, the earth, and everything that is in them, all these things tell me to love you."
Confessions 10, 6
"Your creation praises you so that we love you, and we love you so that your creation praises you."
Confessions XIII 33, 48
"We brought nothing into this world. You have come into the world, you found a full table spread for you. But the Lord's is the earth and its fullness. God bestows the world on the poor, he bestows it on the rich."
Sermon 29, 2
"who does not see that when a restraint is put upon the boldness of savage violence, and the remedies fitted to produce repentance are not withdrawn, this discipline should be called a benefit rather than vindictive punishment?"
Sermon 133, 1
An Augustian Response
Moving toward care of the environment for the common good of all people
Learn more about the Augustinian response to the Ecological Crisis
Calculate Your Impact
Learn more about the impact you and your family/community are having on the environment.
Discover Quick Wins
Discover quick and easy changes you can make today to become more sustainable today.
Learning how to respond to the ecological crisis
Seven Laudato Si Goals
The Cry of the Poor
Adopt Sustainable Lifestyles
Four Pathways to Sustainable Living
Discover doorways to creating a more sustainable lifestyle
Shelter & Energy
Transportation & Travel
Food & Water
Discover quick and easy changes you can make to take the first step towards sustainability today.
According to Harvard University the entire lifecycle of bottled water uses fossil fuels, contributes to global warming, causes pollution, and is 3,000% more expensive per gallon than tap water. 86 percent of used water bottles become garbage or litter.
Families and communities can easily switch to water filters and reusable water containers and contribute an immediate impact on the environment.
K-cups are another source of plastic that end up in landfills. The type of plastic traditionally used takes between 150-500 years to biodegrade. According to the University of California San Francisco, the majority of K-cups are made of a type of plastic that is not recyclable in most areas. Even if the cups are sent for recycling, they will often not be accepted due to the fact that they are small or not properly cleaned by the user beforehand.
Communities and families can respond by switching to drip coffee and composting the coffee grounds.
According to the EPA, about 90 percent of the energy used by washing machines is used to heat water. The washer motor only accounts for about 10 percent. Using cold water for your next load of laundry can have an immediate and substantial impact on your sustainability goals.
Families and communities can easily switch to using cold water for their next load of laundry.
According to the EPA, running your dishwasher only with a full load and using the air-dry option can prevent 100 pounds of carbon pollution. Further, you can save water and energy by scraping dishes instead of rinsing them before loading the dishwashers. Most dishwashers today can thoroughly clean dishes that have had food scraped, rather than rinsed off.
Communities and families can adopt these practices as part of their regular routine of cleaning up after meals.