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Ecological Economics

Note: This is one of a series of reflections written by Providence Associate Jeannie Smith, who is a member of our Climate Change Task Force. Each will focus on one of the seven Laudato Si’ Action Plan (LSAP) Goals. Information about the LSAP and goals can be found here.

One of the more puzzling goals of the Laudato Si’ Action Plan is “Ecological Economics.”

For at least some of us, the first thought might be that this refers to investments in fossil fuel and the like.

But, we might say, “I have no investments” – or, perhaps, “I’ve already divested in oil companies.”

So, we dismiss this goal and go on to something easier to contemplate.

Divesting in fossil fuels and activities that degrade the environment is of great importance. But there are many other things in our daily lives that are relevant to Ecological Economics.

Our purchases, our choices in the things we use, what we wear, the foods we eat, the way we warm and light our lives, the ways we move around our world – these are all economic decisions. Maybe we can think of these things as “Home Economics.”

How thoughtful are we?

How thoughtful are we about our choices in our purchases of groceries, household goods, clothing? Are these goods sustainably produced? Are we mindful of the origins of these products — how far did they travel to reach us?

Were those who planted, harvested, manufactured them treated justly? Do we choose things with awareness of packaging? Do we minimize waste? How often do we think about where the energy comes from when we adjust the heat? Light our desk? Step on the accelerator a little more often or harder than necessary?

It takes more gas to move a car faster. And more gas creates more emissions — yet another way to think about a carbon footprint.

We all have a voice

And beyond these personal practices, each of us has a voice to use. A voice to speak up to corporations, church, and governments. A voice to push them to use their power to mitigate the damage our collective has done to our common home.

We can speak out to friends and family, to those for whom we may be responsible. Our voice and our daily choices are powerful tools for Ecological Economics.

The Laudato Si’ Action Plan website states that Ecological Economics acknowledges that the economy is a sub-system of human society, which itself is embedded within the biosphere — our common home. It is based on sustainability, equity and justice. As opposed to our current economic system dependent on efficiency and growth, exploitation of resources and control of wealth.

Our Examples

In the Litany of Nonviolence our Providence Community prays: “Deliver us from the violence of exploitation and control; grant us the desire and the strength to act responsibly in the cycle of creation.” This is a prayer for Ecological Economics.

Let us use our prayer, our practices, our voice, our example to do all that we can to make this beautiful but wounded common home a healthy one for all living creatures.

Here are some resources that can help you raise your voice to power on behalf of Ecological Economics:

Natural Resources Defense Council
League of Conservation Voters
Interfaith Power and Light
The Litany of Nonviolence

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Jeannie Smith

Jeannie Smith

Jeannie has been a Providence Associate since 2007. She lives in Solana Beach, California with her husband George Schneider. Jeannie is retired and volunteers teaching art with Alzheimer's patients, as a docent at Torrey Pines State Reserve, helps run an ESL program and helps deliver food to Catholic Charities distribution centers. She enjoys hiking, painting and reading.

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  1. Avatar Linda Doyle ,PA on February 4, 2024 at 7:01 pm

    Thanks again , for the awakening of how we need to continually make a difference each day to be aware of our ecological environment . Yesterday , I discovered that the Starbucks coffee cup is interiorly lined with a coating of plastic that leaches out into your coffee . Maybe a letter to share to Starbucks ? The difference could start with me ? ☕️☕️☕️☕️

  2. Avatar Sheila Donis on February 8, 2024 at 10:09 am

    Absolutely wonderful and fits in with the upcoming “Cosmic Walk” Associate retreat. Thanks so much!

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