Augustinians of the Midwest are encouraged to mark the United Nations' World Environment Day, June 5, 2016, in their communities and ministries. The Augustinians invite and encourage all who identify with Augustinian spirituality and traditions to do likewise.
Stewardship of God's Creation is one of the major themes of traditional Catholic Social Teaching. The Catholic Church teaches that the goods of the Earth are gifts to everyone from God, and they are intended by God for the common good of everyone.
Stewardship finds its basis in the Book of Genesis in the Bible, which relates that God entrusted all creation to humans, who are to have dominion over it and care for it as stewards. (--See Gen 1: 28-32; Gen 2: 15)
The concept of Stewardship fits well with the Augustinian idea of the commonality of goods, one of the basic principles of St. Augustine's vision and spirituality of religious community life.
The Rule of St. Augustine says, "Call nothing your own, but let everything be yours in common ... For so you read in the Acts of the Apostles that 'they had all things in common ...'" (Acts 4:32,35) and " ... whenever you show greater concern for the common good than for your own, you know that you are growing in charity."
The principle of Stewardship says that because the world is ours in common, all people have a responsibility to care for the Earth as stewards or trustees. We are more than just consumers and users of natural resources.
How we care for the common good of all through our respect for the environment is a measure of our stewardship, our charity toward others, and our respect for the Creator.
World Environment Day, celebrated each June 5, is one of the ways in which the United Nations works to make the world's population aware of the environment and to encourage people and governments around the world to take actions that promote the common good by encouraging stewardship for a healthy environment.
2016 World Environment Day Theme
“Go Wild for Life (Zero Tolerance for the Illegal Wildlife Trade)” is the theme of World Environment Day 2016.
The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) notes that illegal trade in wildlife products erodes biodiversity, undermines ecosystems and local economies, fuels organized crime, feeds corruption, and contributes to global insecurity.
“More people need to understand the damage this illicit business is doing to our environment, livelihoods, communities and security,” UNEP said while calling for greater public awareness, leading to reduced demand for illegal wildlife products, as well as to pressure on governments for tougher laws and better enforcement.
“Whoever you are, and wherever you live, show zero tolerance for the illegal trade in wildlife in word and deed, and make a difference,” UNEP urged.
What You and I Can Do
- Become more aware of how illegal wildlife trade harms people. Begin learning on the World Environment Day Facts Page.
- Share with family and friends what you learn about illegal wildlife trade and efforts to combat it. Learn more on the World Environment Day website.
- Be a conscious shopper at home or when traveling abroad. If you see suspicious products, speak up. Get more tips from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
- Support enforcement of laws based on The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), approved by 179 countries. Discover how CITES works.
- Get ideas on How to Celebrate World Environment Day. Check out this practical Tool Kit.
- Pray for stronger Stewardship for the Common Good. See sample prayers here.