April is a time of transformation and renewal: Seeds sprout, rain cascades and birds chirp. With all that Mother Earth contends with, we, as humans, need to do our part to nurture and celebrate the planet.
Pope Francis has called for urgent action to stop climate change and proposed that caring for the environment be added to traditional Christian works of mercy such as feeding the hungry and visiting the sick. The Pope has said, “We must not be indifferent or resigned to the loss of biodiversity and the destruction of ecosystems, often caused by our irresponsible and selfish behaviour.”
Here are three environment-related dates to mark in April:
On April 17, we acknowledge St. Kateri Tekakwitha, the first Aboriginal Saint and Patroness of ecology and environment. St. Kateri was informally known as Lily of the Mohawks; a Roman Catholic saint who was originally an Algonquin–Mohawk laywoman.
We can honour St. Kateri by treating fellow humans, animals and planet with respect and dignity. For more information, read a reflection by Sr. Gwen Smith regarding St. Kateri and her history.
On April 22,
we celebrate Earth Day. Founded in 1990, Earth Day Canada
helps people of all ages acknowledge and celebrate the Earth. This year, Earth Day Canada is encouraging outdoor play for all children (and for those who are kids at heart).
A few ideas to help celebrate Earth Day:
- Pray for the Earth using this Climate Blessing
- Feed hummingbirds with sugar water
- Plant wildflowers for beauty and as food for bees
- Take part in the David Suzuki Foundation milkweed campaign which encourages people to plant milkweed for monarch butterflies on their migration.
On April 29,
join the Peoples’ Climate March
in Washington D.C. or take part in a local march. From the organizers’ web site: “Everything we have struggled to move forward in the United States is in peril. Our loved ones feel under siege, and those in power in Washington are advancing a dark and dangerous vision of America that we know is untrue. To change everything, we need everyone.”
There are several marches happening in Toronto on April 29, one of which is the “Our Earth, Our Fight”
march at Trinity Square.
By Lisa Tabachnick
Photo credit: By Jim McIntosh, via Wikimedia Commons