Consistent with Catholic Social Teaching and Pope Francis’s call in Laudato Si’: Care for Our Common Home, the St. Monica Green Team is dedicated to protecting our common home.
We are committed to creating a culture of stewardship and conservation by improving energy and resource efficiency in our parish and city communities. We aim to transform our social values into actions that consider the disproportionate impact on the poor, marginalized, and vulnerable. Most importantly, we strive to provide our congregation with the necessary tools and training to live more sustainably and in solidarity with all of God’s Creation.
A special thanks to the Green Team volunteers who showed up strong at the Thanksgiving Feast to divert food waste into the organics and recycling bins and educate our fellow volunteers about the three bins system. We continue to prioritize the health of our guests and our planet by moving away from plastics and single use items and continue to help everyone learn valuable lessons about “wish cycling”. We’ve moved one step closer to having a zero-waste with purchase of compostable coffee cups, ditching single use plastic water bottles for volunteers and guests and using cups instead. Instead of recycling the aluminum chafing dishes, the Green Team helped wash over 150 chafing dishes for reuse next year, saving over $400 for the parish. With over three bins full of cardboard separated to be recycled, there was little to no trash.
Calling all energy enthusiasts!
Pope Francis’s latest letter Laudate Deum urges us to move toward renewable energy and divest from fossil fuels. This urgency was reinforced this week in the release of the Fifth National Climate Assessment, a congressionally mandated report. Both documents warn that reducing our planet-warming pollution is not happening nearly fast enough to meet the nation’s targets.
In this working meeting, Tim Kohut, Director of Sustainable Design at National Community Renaissance (National CORE), will help us explore how we can optimize our energy usage at St. Monica. Tim will share examples of how his organization is approaching decarbonization, dramatically improving operational economics while greatly benefiting the lives of working class residents who live in National CORE’s communities. National CORE believes that by proving that decarbonization can be accomplished in economically disadvantaged communities, it can be accomplished anywhere.
For decades, JustFaith programs at St. Monica have been providing knowledge and the tools that inspire action to address the root causes of injustice. Join the St. Monica Green Team as we host Sacred Air: Climate and Energy. We will explore the impact of the climate crisis on God’s creation and God’s people and discern ways to restore the health of our planet and those who live on it.
By Meredith McCarthy
As you prepare for your holiday party, you run into the store and think you are doing the right thing by purchasing compostable, disposable party supplies. Yes, it is quite a bit more expensive, but you are doing your part for the environment. You pay the difference because it is getting composted and not going to landfill?
If you turn the package over you notice a little blurb that says, “Compostable in Industrial Facilities.”
Fun Fact: We don’t have industrial composting in the greater Los Angeles region.
Across the state most cities use contractors that have organics recycling. Both processes aim to divert organic waste from landfills which is a critical greenhouse gas reduction strategy, but Organics Recycling can only process materials that are 100% fiber based. No bioplastics, waxy coatings or adhesives. If it feels like plastic, it is not fiber based. If your holiday paper plates have a big colorful snow scene on them they have a coating and they should go in the trash. Just to save you some time, there isn’t a hot cup that is acceptable in the organics recycling bin. Hot cups are usually wax or plastic lined and usually have an adhesive to seal the seam. Athens Services, the County’s largest waste hauler has a great cheat sheet to help you get it right.
Consider using reusable party supplies, or you can be mindful of choosing disposable items made from materials that are 100% fiber based. You might have to order them online. They don’t come in holiday colors (unless your holiday color is brown). They don’t want dyes and chemicals in the organic compost. The most creation friendly strategy of course is to do dishes. Alternatively you can always ask your friends to bring their own mug or flatware instead of a hostess gift. Consider it a gift to the environment!
Caring for the Earth has always been at the core of our Catholic tradition. In Genesis, God creates the good Earth for humankind, on the condition that we care for it as His stewards. The rest of the Bible continues this theme, from awe of creation in Psalms to our responsibility to care for it in Paul’s epistles. Preached over 1,000 years later, St. Francis of Assisi’s teachings also emphasized the theme that all of creation must be respected and praised as the handiwork of God.
More recently, in encyclicals by current and past popes, we are called to recognize our mutual responsibility to restore the damages inflicted on earth. Pope Francis shook the world in 2015 with his letter to the Catholic community, titled Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home. It was the first time a major faith leader publicly acknowledged our environmental crisis and reminded the faith community of our responsibility to creation. His powerful language includes:
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops reiterated this responsibility, saying Care for Creation is “not just an Earth Day slogan, [but] a requirement of our faith.”
Today, millions of the faithful across the globe work to care for our common home. A truly ecumenical community has formed. Read below to learn about four groups highlighting the range of activities and depth of their commitment.
USCCB’s Catholic Campaign for Human Development partners with over 70 community-based organizations in 25 states and has invested more than $3.2 million to support environmental justice. USCCB’s Laudato Si’ Advocates Program equips individuals with skills to advocate for legislation promoting the integral ecology described in Laudato Si’.
IPL’s Cool Congregations program helps congregations reduce the carbon footprint of their facilities and in their members’ homes. IPL also supports Faithful Advocacy Captains and offers movie series resources to spark discussion about climate change.
Formerly known as the Global Catholic Climate Movement, the Laudato Si’ Movement aims to inspire and mobilize the Catholic community to care for our common home and achieve climate and ecological justice. They host the Laudato Si’ Action Platform, which promotes sustainable living plans for both individuals and parish communities.
Catholic Climate Covenant’s Catholic Energies provides expertise to design and finance sustainable projects that reduce parishes’ energy costs. The Catholic Climate Ambassadors are expert envoys available to deliver Catholic teaching on climate change.
Through conferences, publications, newsletters, and a robust web presence, the Forum explores the diversity of religious worldviews, texts, and ethics to contribute to environmental solutions.
The foundation of Catholic teachings on Creation is rooted in prayer and reflection on the gift of our common home. Below are some passages, prayers, and reflections to inspire our awareness, gratitude, and willingness about Creation.
Is it time to get out the gourd recipes? Join us for a trio of fall soups and vote on which recipes the Green Team will make for Fridays during Lent. We will also discuss Pope Francis’s new encyclical Laudate Deum and hear from special guest Mary Garbesi, who will help us tackle climate anxiety, reflect on Creation care, and help develop our personal actions plans.
In partnership with the Archdiocese Office of Life, Justice, and Peace, we will host a screening of “The Letter, A Message for Our Earth.” This film builds on our pope’s call to care for our planet through the experiences of four individuals from around the world whom he personally contacted. They bring perspective and solutions for the poor, the indigenous, the youth, and wildlife into a conversation with Pope Francis himself. Attend regularly or volunteer with us!
We’re taking the (in)famous Primetime Pancake Breakfast and making it zero waste! We need volunteers to help after all morning Masses: dish angels, pancake flippers, and recycling educators. Don’t worry; you will be trained!
Young people aren't the future; they're the now. Gen Z is becoming more influential in the decision-making space, so it's more important than ever to amplify these young voices as they grow into adult change-makers.
At St. Monica Green Team 2023 Youth Environmental Summit, IF NOT NOW, we'll explore how students can lead their school and parish environmental groups to effectively develop and champion policies that help their campuses be more environmentally aware and active.
As our ministry season comes to a close, the Green Team celebrates a year of hard work with a summer social: Green Team and Gazpacho. Fresh faces and seasoned veterans alike can join us for a night of food, fellowship, and fun as we wrap up this year and prepare for the upcoming one. We'll talk about how you can get involved in the next three months and help you meet like-minded Green Teamers.
Gazpacho and baked goods provided. As always, bring your own water bottle!
Laudato Si' Week, May 21-28, gives us an opportunity to begin to reflect on what a Laudato Si’ Action Plan could look like for our parish. Join us after Mass on May 21 to learn more and celebrate the start of Laudato Si’ Week.
Pope Francis says, “Nature cannot be regarded as something separate from ourselves or as a mere setting in which we live.” (LS 139) Our treatment of the natural world is deeply tied to poverty and other social, and ethical issues. Laudato Si reminds us that in order to live our faith we must start to hear the cries of the poor and the earth as one cry. That is the holistic spirit of Laudato Si’.
What is a Ladauto Si’ action plan?
The Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development has developed 7 themes/goals to provide focus areas for reflection and action. That which gets measured, gets done! It’s time to hold ourselves accountable to the cries of the poor and the cries of the earth. The entire parish is encouraged to participate in the network of solutions necessary to solve this complex, ecological crisis.
The Laudato Si Action Platform provides tips and examples for families and parishes to create unique, bold plans to respond to the ecological crisis. Sample plans are available here.
Which focus area speaks to you? The St. Monica Green Team would like to hear from you!
From September 1, the Day of Prayer for Creation, to October 4, the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, we celebrate the Season of Creation. During this time, we are called to reflect on the gift of God's Earth and the call to be His stewards. This year's theme is "Listen to the Voice of Creation”, which urges us to hear God in nature and others, especially those most vulnerable to climate change and environmental crises. To read more about the season and movement, click here. To join our mailing list, email !
Congratulations to our very own Elizabeth Johnstone, winner of the David Hines Volunteer of the Year award! Your commitment to the Green Team is truly incredible.
Part 1: Join the “Screen Team” (Film Club & Green Team) on September 29 at 6:30pm for a screening of “Don’t Look Up”, a metaphor for the climate crisis we are currently facing. It is a love letter to scientists, changemakers, and solution seekers, and a rallying cry for global climate action. The film will be shown in the Grand Pavilion.
Part 2: Sometimes the reality of climate change can feel overwhelming but, unlike the characters in the film, we can choose how our story ends. If we choose to talk openly, listen to one another, and take action together, we can write a new ending to our story. On October 6 at 6:30pm, the Green Team will host a Zoom panel of climate experts and a discussion of the big themes of “Don’t Look Up”, including environmental justice, civic engagement, and hope for the future!
Join us for a Season of Creation morning prayer and reflection at the beach lot 7N (just south of the California Incline) on Saturday, October 1 at 8am. Bring a blanket or a chair, welcome the morning, and give thanks for creation with us.
On August 27, the Green Team hosted a community beach cleanup to celebrate the feast of St. Monica. With over 30 parishioners in attendance and almost 30 pounds of trash collected, we can definitely call it a success! If you would like to be a part of our next cleanup in a few months, please send us an email at .
Green Team has been awared a grant to continue the work of their Youth Climate Summit!
Join us each week for tips, resources, and more on how to live a food waste-free Lent!
As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, "This is a remote place, and it's already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food." Jesus replied, "They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat."
"We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish," they answered.
"Bring them here to me," he said. And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.
We may not be able to multiply loaves of bread and fish to feed the hungry but can we reduce waste in our lives? Approximately 1/3 of the food produced globally is wasted each year and around 40% of this waste occurs in the U.S. (Yale Climate Connections). What can each of us do this Lent to reduce waste? As Pope Francis say about this waste, ‘whenever food is thrown out it is as if it were stolen from the table of the poor.’” Laudato Si’ 50
We would love to hear about your #LentenFoodWasteFast journey! Tag us on Instagram @stmonica90403!
Organize your fridge and store your food in a way that will prevent it from spoiling.
“When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very edges of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest.” –Leviticus 19:9
The Bible encourages the idea of gleaning, a practice in which farmers left food that had fallen when harvesting so that people who were hungry could collect, or glean, what was left behind in order to be fed. In this spirit, we take to heart what Pope Francis said of wasted food: “Whenever food is thrown out it is as if it were stolen from the table of the poor.”
Highlight what needs to be eaten firstLabel a spot in your fridge with an “eat this food first sign.” Place food that needs to be consumed soon in this area so that everyone will know where to look first for a snack or meal ingredients. Print one of our signs, or create your own!
Food waste is responsible for 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions annually. (U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization)
Check out these daily reflections from Lent 2020 on food, faith, and climate inspired by the Lenten Food Waste Fast.
I recently read a story about a woman who liked to bake banana bread to share with her office. The recipe she used was one she found while watching a news show in which a mother baked the bread as she spoke about losing her child to opioid addiction. My friend prays for the woman's child each time she bakes the bread, turning the act of cooking into a prayer.
This week think about who you will be cooking for and what you will need.
Practice mindfulness and gratitude as you prepare and eat meals this week.
The Chilean poet Pablo Neruda is well known for the many odes he wrote to different foods. Take time to read one of his poems and then compos a short ode to a type of food that you appreciate. Share it on social media using #LentenFoodWasteFast and tag us on Instagram @stmonica90403
Tips this week are meant to increase connection with and gratitude for our food, reducing the likelihood that we will waste anything in the process.
“We know that approximately a third of all food produced is discarded, and ‘whenever food is thrown out it is as if it were stolen from the table of the poor.’” Laudato Si’ 50
We would love to hear about your #LentenFoodWasteFast journey! Tag us on Instagram @stmonica90403 and @ignatiansolidarity
Food waste goes far beyond your kitchen. Take some time to learn more about the supply side of food waste.
We till the earth,
We tend the ground.
Sowing hope and peace
Where none is found.
In selfless love
God's life abounds
We till the earth,
We tend the ground.
Take time to listen to a new hymn, Tend the Ground, inspired by "Laudato Si': on Care for Our Common Home." Notice how you feel as you listen to the song. Are there particular lyrics that speak to you?
These daily reflections on food, faith, climate and our lives will provide spiritual sustenance for the Lenten journey. They are inspired by the Lenten Food Waste Fast at the Ignatian Solidarity Network.
Got 90 minutes? Watch the inspiring documentary, Biggest Little Farm, available via most cable providers and/or for rent on Amazon Prime/iTunes. (Trailer) Film synopsis: “The Biggest Little Farm follows two dreamers and their beloved dog when they make a choice that takes them out of their tiny L.A. apartment and into the countryside to build one of the most diverse farms of its kind in complete coexistence with nature.”
As a result of the 1.3 billion tons of food wasted every year worldwide, 45 trillion gallons of water are also wasted. This is 24 percent of all water used for agriculture. When we throw food in the trash, we’re throwing away all of the resources that went into growing, harvesting, packaging, and shipping the food such as water, gasoline, land, and pesticides. (NPR)
We would love to hear about your #LentenFoodWasteFast journey! Tag us on Instagram @stmonica90403 and @ignatiansolidarity
Composting food scraps and other organic material is one additional way that we can prevent food waste. When food is thrown away and breaks down in the landfill, it produces methane which is a greenhouse gas 26-28 times more potent than CO2. Composting prevents the release of methane gas by keeping food out of the landfill. The composting process allows organic material to break down in a way that stores carbon in the soil that is produced. When the compost is ready, it can be used to enrich plants in your own garden, reducing the need for fertilizers or pesticides.
On January 1, 2022, every Californian is required, under SB 1383 and a new local ordinance, to recycle food scraps, along with our yard or green materials. Santa Monica now accepts all food scraps and organic waste like coffee filters, in the green bin.
Then the angel said to the women in reply,
"Do not be afraid!
I know that you are seeking Jesus the crucified.
He is not here, for he has been raised just as he said."
...Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid.
Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee,
and there they will see me."
Matthew 28: 5-6, 10
"If a healthy soil is full of death, it is also full of life: worms, fungi, microorganisms of all kinds ... Given only the health of the soil, nothing that dies is dead for very long."
Wendell Berry, The Unsettling of America, 1977
For more information regarding Santa Monica’s new mandatory organics recycling visit the website.
If you would prefer to compost at home, read the article “How to Compost at Home: A Beginners Guide to DIY Fertilizer."
Food waste that decomposes in landfills releases methane, a greenhouse gas that is at least 28 times more potent than carbon dioxide. (The Washington Post)
We would love to hear about your @stmonica 90403 #LentenFoodWasteFast journey! Tag us on Instagram @ignatiansolidarity or use the hashtag.
Launch into Lent by learning more about food waste! Watch our recorded panel with tips and information from Neal Shapiro about how to live food-waste free!
Launch into Lent by learning more about food waste! As we prepare for our physical and spiritual fast, join the Green Team as we dive into the City of Santa Monica's new ordinance on compost and how to reduce food waste. The panel will feature Neal Shapiro, Senior Sustainability Analyst and Zero Waste Team Supervisor at the Resource Recovery & Recycling Division for the City of Santa Monica. Our talk will kick off the Lenten Season and introduce you to our 6-week "Food Waste-Free Lent" program.
Recording Coming Soon!
We celebrate World Wetlands Day to raise awareness about the Earth’s beautiful wetland ecosystems. Though wetlands are critical for biodiversity, climate mitigation, freshwater availability, world economies and more, we are losing them three times faster than forests due to overdevelopment and deforestation.
Read more about the importance of the wetlands, especially our Ballona Wetlands!
Celebrate World Wetlands Day by participating in a Friends of Ballona Wetlands cleanup! Friends of Ballona regularly offers volunteer opportunities to participate in creek cleanups that remove debris that would otherwise end up in the wetlands.
We are proud to report the success of our first annual Youth Climate Summit: Our Actions, Our Earth, Our Home! On Saturday, October 2, we cappedoff the Season of Creation by hosting 50 middle and high school students who were passionateabout environmental activism in their communities. We provided them with the resources to livemore sustainably and sparked meaningful conversations about what it means to be anenvironmental advocate. From the feedback wereceived, the students left the summit with plansof action and a greater understanding of theintersectionality of environmentalism and faith.
Celebrate National Honeybee Day on it's twelfth anniversary. While the holiday has gained more popularity since its first recognition in 2009, the general consensus around the honeybee is still lukewarm despite the species’ dire endangerment in America. While it may be so easy to overlook these small insects, honeybees are one of the most important insects to our society. So take some time to give back to the bees this year and make a buzz about National Honeybee Day!
Read the full article, And He Saw that it Was Good, written by Elizabeth Johnstone, CLICK HERE!
Over the past decade, the city of Santa Monica has led the way in sustainable tourism, boasting eco-friendly attractions such as Heal the Bay Aquarium, Tongva Park, and our local Farmers' Market.
One of our most heralded spots is the Santa Monica Mountains, which pioneer sustainable mountain tourism—a scarcity in today's nature-visiting scene. As COVID restrictions lift and outdoor plans increase, consider visiting this mountain range to picnic, hike, view wildflowers, and birdwatch, among many other activities. The National Park Service writes more about what you can do in the SaMo mountains - Click here!
Even if you don’t have time for a cleanup, you can still take much-needed action.
Learn how to care for our coastline in 3 easy ways in an article by Elizabeth Johnstone - Click Here!
St. Monica Catholic Community is certified as a Santa Monica Green Business and will renew its certification in the Summer of 2021. St. Monica is also working to reduce its carbon footprint through more sustainable purchasing and waste reduction in areas such as printing, hospitality, and energy. These steps are not only good for the planet, but they will also result in cost savings for our parish.
The Green Team is committed to work with and support St. Monica in these endeavors.
On Saturday, Apr. 17, the Green Team hosted a successful decentralized cleanup. Members of the St. Monica community went out and cleaned our beaches, neighborhoods, and parks. Thank you to everyone who participated in our cleanup and beautified the city!
From a spark that created a movement, Earth Day continues to inspire! The St. Monica Green Team celebrated Earth Day on Apr. 17 by inviting parishioners to clean their local neighborhood or beach. It has never been more important to care for our common home.
Read a history of Earth Day written by Meredith McCarthy - Click Here!
Overcome by the beauty of God’s creation, St. Francis of Assisi once proclaimed, “Laudato si’, mi’ signore”, meaning “Praise be to you, my Lord”. Nowadays, we often don’t have moments like St. Francis. Wrapped up in the hustle of life, we forget that the Earth is truly a gift from God. In 2015, Pope Francis reminded the world of this in his second encyclical, Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home, inspired by St. Francis’s canticle. In it, he describes the suffering our planet has undergone and how we can all take action to stop it. As the season of Easter and Earth Month begin, take a moment to pause and reflect on Pope Francis’s encyclical. Read the English translation - Click here.
The weather is changing, and summer is on the horizon. What comes to mind? Tidying up? Cleaning out your closets and drawers? Shopping? The Green Team offers you three perspectives to consider first - Click Here!
What better way to celebrate Mother’s Day than to honor our mothers and love our Mother Earth! Read some tips to keep your Mother’s Day environmentally friendly by Meredith McCarthy - Click Here!
On Thursday, May 20, the Green Team hosted Catholic Conversations with Fr. Emmet Farrell and Patricia Grace from the Archdiocese of San Diego. They gave a beautiful presentation on the spirituality of Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si’: on Care for Our Common Home.
For the last 4 years Fr. Emmet has been the director of Creation Care ministry for the Diocese of San Diego, leading a team of fellow volunteers to promote and educate about Pope Francis's 2016 encyclical. Patricia Grace is a lawyer, master’s level social worker, and secular Franciscan with a long personal and professional history of advocacy for the poor and marginalized, yet she holds that her credentials for presenting this workshop are the proverbial calluses on her knees.
Recording of Catholic Conversations: The Spirituality of Laudato Si’ - Click Here to Watch!
Lent invites us to remember the 40 days that Jesus spent fasting in the desert as we reflect, repent, fast, and listen to God. In the spirit of Pope Francis’s invitation this Lent, let’s commit to overcome our indifference to the climate change crisis and its victims. Let’s pray and fast for a renewal of our relationship with all of God’s creation and with our brothers and sisters who live in poverty and are already suffering the impacts of climate change.
What can we do besides limiting meals and consumption? Pray. Here are various ways to pray for Creation:
For an urgent solution to the climate change crisis.
For the grace to grow in virtue, which helps us be better stewards of creation.
For easing the suffering of the poor and those affected by disease and severe weather.
For the Church, that it may use its prophetic voice to help solve the environmental problems we face.
Join the St. Monica Green Team!
Learn about our call to protect the environment and how to put our faith into action right here at St. Monica. We are always looking for new members, and we can't wait to see you soon!