The following is a guest post from Beatriz Ponte, a high school Design and Technology teacher at various Catholic schools in Australia. In 2016, Beatriz read Pope Francis’s Laudato Si’ encyclical letter and began her journey towards an ecological conversion, seeing God within nature in a way she never had before.
This reconnection was especially important to Beatriz as a teacher guiding her students to be aware of how natural resources are used when creating a built environment, as well as how to apply sustainability principles in their designs.
“Now more than ever, I have become much more aware of the damage caused to our planet through unsustainable practices and a disconnect from our earth and our creator. A reconnection with God is a reconnection with the whole of creation.”
Read more for Beatriz’s reflection on the ways we are all interconnected with ourselves and with all other beings in this home that we share. The only home we have.
When I read Laudato Si’ I was already for three years practicing Christian meditation, to which I attribute a big percentage of my consciousness transformation. I meet with a group at church for Christian meditation practiced by the Fathers and Mothers of the desert in the the third to sixth centuries, and restarted as we know it now by John Main, a Benedictine monk.
Within this group are meditators who are concerned for the future of our planet. We meet once a month and aim to educate ourselves in everything related to ecology and climate change.
I use these Christian meditation practices and ecological principles to help guide my students to care for nature every time they start a new project. I do this by reiterating to them about the need to be sustainable in every way possible, and to care for all creation.
I first conduct an oral test to see how much they know about caring for our planet and about some of the current sustainable practices. I start the discussion there, checking also to see if they have heard of Laudato Si’.
Then, I restrict the amount of material students can use in their projects. That way they are very intentional about not spoiling the first piece of material they are given. Through this restriction, I have seen great amounts of acrylic and timber saved.
“I enjoy guiding my students to an awareness of how natural resources are used when creating the built environment, as well as how to apply sustainability principles in their designs.”
The Laudato Si’ Action Platform has helped make me aware of creation as a whole and of the interconnectivity of all human beings and all living things. Certainly I am more aware than ever of the ultra-consumerism that has led things to the way they are now; to a greediness and hunger for power that is detrimental to the environment, to our resources and to the most vulnerable in society – the poor and disadvantaged.
I stress to my students and to all people: It is urgent for us to take action now on this journey towards full sustainability in the holistic spirit of Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’ encyclical because we still have time to save our common home. There is still time to repent and be ecologically converted in order to preserve life and our resources for future generations.