Walking, bicycling, and recycling — are all ways to reach the Laudato Si Action Platform’s goal to Adopt a Sustainable Lifestyle. Paul Lipowski of Partners in Franciscan Ministries finds walking not only helps the environment but also helps him appreciate what creation has to offer.
Adoption of Sustainable Lifestyles
By Paul Lipowski, vice president and special advisor to Partners in Franciscan Ministries
As I reflect on Laudato Si’, this quote keeps coming to mind. At Partners in Franciscan Ministries, we often discuss our well-being and what it means to make an impact on how we engage with God’s creation. There is a running joke in the office about how Syracuse is a walkable city…because no one believes it but me! I love to walk. It is one of my favorite things to do. It isn’t very exciting, it’s not overly strenuous, and you could even say that it’s rather mundane. But walking, at least for me, opens my eyes to the world around me. It helps me put things in perspective, a perspective that is usually lost when speeding down the road in a car.
I think we take for granted what we don’t see or encounter when we aren’t walking. When I have the opportunity, I walk from downtown Syracuse to the office, a little over three miles away. I won’t recount everything I’ve seen in those walks, but walking has opened my eyes to the beauty of nature and humanity— seeing and engaging people from all walks of life —and helped me focus on our shared humanity. It takes me longer to get where I need to go, but for me, it’s worth it. I adopt a little simpler lifestyle by using what God gave me to get from one place to another. It’s the small step I take to lessen the impact I may have on this planet. In my place in life, I need to be able to live in a place where I can walk. I know, I know, not every place is going to be like that, but I think that’s one of the follies of our current culture. We no longer walk to the store, to work, or even places where we can just sit and have a coffee with someone. We need to reclaim some type of simpler lifestyle, and for me, that’s walking. It has afforded me less distraction and intentionality because I map out the shortest routes or ways to bypass heavy traffic areas, and it gives me an opportunity to explore an area that may be forgotten or neglected.
Being conscious of my surroundings gives me a greater opportunity to see the beauty of God’s creation around me. This is what Laudato Si’ can help us focus on if we only take the time to hear what God is calling us to do. So, what can we do to liberate ourselves from the distractions that hold us back from living our lives to the fullest? The quick answer can be that we take stock of the things that hold us down and distract us from what matters most. How are our relationships? Are we caught up in the rat race? How stressed are we and what causes that stress? If we take a step back and reflect, perhaps we will see the beauty of God’s creation and put things in perspective, often blinded by all the things holding us back. So, take some small steps, literally and figuratively! You may be wowed by what you see!
You can live a more sustainable lifestyle by following these ten practices that protect the environment listed by Catholic Ecology. You will be surprised how these ideas, once put into practice, help you to live a healthy lifestyle and at the same time save you money!