Life’s journey starts with knowing oneself well and moves to loving others. For some it works the other way around.

No matter what one’s faith or lack of it, we are all searching. Searching for meaning in our lives and wanting to make a difference. It helps to have companions who share our beliefs and support our deepest yearnings.

For some this comes naturally, for others it comes at a time of transition or crisis. Some people call these moments grace; I see them as God working in the world even in difficult times. To grow as a human being is to more fully reflect the image of God.

Consider the times and places you have met God. See below for a start.
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     – Surviving in Today’s World with Yesterday’s Values
     – Advent/Christmas, Lent/Easter, Birth, Marriage, Death and other Transitions
     – Family Prayer and Spirituality
     – The Use and Abuse of Power

click on a title below to view

Christmas Is December 25
Do We Still Believe in Santa Claus?
Advent Waiting 1 (Waiting with Mary; Preparing with John the Baptist)
Frugal Gifts for Family & Friends
A Humorous Look at the Vogt "Nothing New Christmas"

Audio interview: Consumerism and Other Holiday Issues

What I Learned While Reading My Daughter's E-mail
To Give Or Not To Give?
Money - How Much Is Enough? How Much Is Too Much?
What I've Learned about Living on Less

Surviving Hard Economic Times (from Every Day Catholic)
Wait a Minute! A Christian Perspective on Time (from Every Day Catholic)
"It Wasn't Me" - Social Sin and Social Responsibility (from Every Day Catholic)
Discrimination - Not Just a Black-and-White Issue (from Every Day Catholic)
The Christian Consumer - A Contradiction? (from Every Day Catholic)
LENT - Have You Given Up on Giving Up?

Are We Willing To Be Authentically Pro-Life?
Standing Up for Life-Moving from "Either/Or" to "Both/And" (Every Day Catholic)
Worrywart Or Frivolous Fool
Nibbling Ourselves Lost
What I Learned While Reading My Daughter's E-mail
It Could Have Been Worse
A New Twist on an Old Rule
A Pac Man Parable
How To Tell Right From Wrong
How to Change Someone You Love
Homily Tips from a Listener
What Would Have Happened If...
The Spirituality of Car Repair and Doing Dishes
The Radical Middle

Our Brothers' Keepers-Faith, Politics & the Common Good (Every Day Catholic)
Home for the Holidays - Tips for Civil Conversations
Covid-19 Cancellations - The Gift Of Time
Cape May Family Footwashing Service

The Spirituality of Car Repair and Doing Dishes
Loving Our Church - Warts and All (from Every Day Catholic)
Was Jesus a Tree Hugger? Ecology and Faith (from Every Day Catholic)
Faith: It Demands Action (from Every Day Catholic)
Hanging on to Hope...When the World Is Falling Apart (from Every Day Catholic)
Spiritual or Religious? Why Not Both! (from Every Day Catholic)
Why Community? Why Church? Why Catholic?
(from Every Day Catholic)
Vogt Morning Offering A PowerPoint slide show; ideal for prayer

Who Do I Hate
A New Twist on an Old Rule
Simple Is Not Simplistic
Finding Your Own Way to Pray (from Every Day Catholic)
Stories From the Heart - Being Catholic and Gay (from Every Day Catholic)
Technology - Have You Been Seduced by Electronics? (from Every Day Catholic)
Just Follow Your (Informed) Conscience (from Every Day Catholic)
Feeding the Hungry in a Land of Dieters (from Every Day Catholic)
Mindfulness of Words

The Holy Longing, The Search for a Christian Spirituality by Ronald Rolheiser. Doubleday, New York ©1999, $21.95
A deep book for honest seekers of the spiritual life. Goes beyond categories of liberal or conservative to the heart of the spiritual life.

Savoring God by Kathleen Finley. Ave Maria Press, Notre Dame, IN ©2003, $12.95
Over 25 prompts to prayer using the ordinary items that we find around the house. Creative, inspiring.

Affluenza by John de Graaf, Wann, & Naylor. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler. ©2001. $25.
Based on the award winning PBS special, this book documents everything you’d want to know about simplifying your lifestyle.

God Help Me! These People Are Driving Me Nuts – Making Peace with Difficult People by Gregory Popcak (Loyola Press, 2001, 800-621-1008)
Offers ways to apply our Christian beliefs in dealing with difficult relationships. Uses engaging case studies and challenging exercises.

God Knows We Get Angry – Healthy Ways to Deal with It (Sorin Books, 2002, 800-282-2865)
Stories and exercises to assist in the journey from anger and resentments to forgiveness and freedom from memories of hurt and rejection.

To Celebrate: Reshaping Holidays and Rites of Passage, 225-pg. book from Alternatives. $5 + s/h (800) 821-6153, www.SimpleLiving.org

Whose Birthday Is It, Anyway? Sioux City, IA: Alternatives © 2000.
A booklet of creative ways to help your family enter into the simple spirit of Christmas.

"Work of Human Hands" catalog.
Call (800) 422-5915 to request a free individual retail catalog from Catholic Relief Services, in partnership with SERRV International

spirituality@work – 10 ways to balance your life on-the-job by Gregory Pierce. Chicago: Loyola Press, ©2001. $18.
This is not your typical book on spirituality. It is focused on an area of our lives that is viewed by some as outside the realm of spirituality. It uses the language of the workplace rather than the language of religion to talk about spiritual matters. A true guide to unpacking the laity’s role in the marketplace.

Blessings for the Fast Paced & Cyberspaced; Parables, Reflections and Prayers. William John Fitzgerald. Leavenworth, KS, © 2000 Forest of Peace Publishing. $12.95.
Prayers and stories for modern day life.

Planet Earth supports our lives. We must take care of it. In Pope Francis’ encyclical, LAUDATO SI’, he calls not only on Catholics, but all humanity to care more vigorously for creation. Here are 2 ways:

EASY: Some of us are just starting to awaken to the need to care for creation, or have been busy with jobs, raising a family, or other social justice commitments. We may not have much discretionary time. OR, it may simply be a relief to note that, “Hey, I’m already doing this one!” Good.
A CHALLENGE: Others have been engaged in the environmental movement for awhile and are ready to take a bigger step and multiply your efforts by going beyond your own individual lifestyle to make a bigger impact. Then, try the challenge of influencing systemic change in your neighborhood, city, country, the world.
Either way, pick whichever fits your ability this week and do something.

To sign up for Monthly Leadership ECO-TIPS click here.
To sign up for Weekly individual ECO-TIPS click here.

1. FOOD - Because cows produce methane which contributes to global warming -
EASY: Choose 1 day this week to eat no meat - perhaps a Friday
CHALLENGING: Choose 1 week/month to eat no meat. If you are already a vegetarian, fast from food (except water) for 1 day to be in solidarity with those who don't have a choice.

EASY: This week pay attention to turning off lights when you aren’t in a room.
CHALLENGING: Replace all incandescent light bulbs in your home with LED light bulbs. Bonus: Talk to your office, place of worship, etc. about doing the same.

EASY: Buy laundry strips (Earth Breeze or Tru Earth) for your washing machine instead of a liquid or pod packaged in plastic.
CHALLENGING: Write to the head of a corporation that makes laundry detergent (like Proctor & Gamble based in Cincinnati) and urge them to reduce plastic packaging.

EASY: When making paper copies, print on both sides of the paper; use narrow margins
CHALLENGING: Convert paper files to digital ones. Recycle old paper files.

EASY: Walk or bike when going somewhere under a mile.
CHALLENGING: Buy a hybrid or electric car.

EASY: Assess: On your next grocery trip, take stock of how many items you buy packaged in plastic.
CHALLENGING: Pick at least one item you usually buy that comes in plastic packaging and find a substitute. Example: make your own yogurt, grow your own fruits/vegetables.

EASY: Read about environmental sustainability (google “environmental articles” or read a book like Saving Us)
CHALLENGING: Join an environmental group like Sierra Club, The Pachamama Alliance, Catholic Climate Covenant etc.

EASY: Don’t buy bottled water. Take your own reusable bottle with you.
CHALLENGING: Ask organizations you belong to (church, civic, social, etc.) to provide washable cups, or other alternatives to bottled water at gatherings.

EASY: Commit to spend at least 30 min. a week in nature (walk in the woods, plant something…)
CHALLENGING: Support a local nature organization with your money or volunteer work. For example, Green Umbrella in Cincinnati)

EASY: Write a short letter to the editor in support of a local environmental cause.
CHALLENGING: Advocate for environmentally friendly legislation and policies with your local, state, or national government.

EASY: Cleaning is important, but cleaning products often come in plastic containers. This week count how many of your home cleaning supplies come in plastic containers?
CHALLENGING: Research which cleaning products can be put in curbside recycling, which you can substitute other products for, and if there are any Zero Waste stores near you.

12. CELEBRATE (Easter/Earth Day)
EASY: Celebrate Easter (Apr. 17) and/or Earth Day (Apr. 22) by honoring new life. Find something that was dead in nature and something that is beginning to come alive.
Alternate expanded version:
EASY: Celebrate Earth Day (April 22, 2022) for a day, a week, or a whole month by honoring new life. This coincides with the new life of Easter (April 17), the end of Passover(April 23), and of Ramadan (May 1). Find something that was dead in nature and something that is beginning to come alive.
CHALLENGING: Search your memory for any actions you’ve taken this past month to help a person, plant, or animal thrive. Commit to one additional act to reduce a negative impact your lifestyle might have on planet earth next month.

EASY: Take reusable bags to use at the grocery store. Keep some in your car for miscellaneous. purchases.
CHALLENGING: Diapers – Cloth diapers may seem old fashioned but since you can reuse them, they are significantly less expensive than disposable plastic diapers. In addition, you’ve got rags for a lifetime.

EASY: Calculate your carbon footprint. Two free ways are available here and here
CHALLENGING: Reduce your carbon footprint by 5%.

EASY: Plant something. Anything will count, but a seed or seedling that will grow into a food is ideal.
CHALLENGING: Organize a campaign to clean up and take care of a public green space in your neighborhood or town.

EASY: Make cards instead of buying them or perhaps send an e-card. Personalizing the card is a gift in itself.
CHALLENGING: Wrap a gift in a paper bag and decorate it. Maybe use comics from the newspaper, etc. Re-use wrapping paper, boxes, or bags from prior years. You keep these don’t you? :-)

17. FOOD
EASY: When possible, patronize farmer’s markets and buy fresh products in season. CHALLENGING: Join a Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) group. Google “CSA” to find one near your home.

EASY: When ordering take-out food for home, remind the vendor that you don’t need plastic cutlery. They can skip the napkin too since presumably you have some at home. CHALLENGING: If you’re not taking your carry out food home, keep a spork (combined spoon, fork, knife) or metal cutlery set with you so you can still “Skip the Stuff” that’s plastic.

EASY: Run full loads in your dishwasher, washer, and dryer (or be adventurous and dry your sheets and other flat items on a clothes line.)
CHALLENGING: If possible, transition to renewable energy - Solar, Wind, or Geothermal
Bonus: Consider installing one of these in a school, house of worship, office building.

EASY: Take care of the clothes you already have. Buy only the clothes you need. Consider second hand clothing options.
CHALLENGING: Purchase clothing made of natural fibers. Avoid petroleum-based fabrics such as nylon, polyester, and fleece.

EASY: Drive less; walk/bike more. (This doubles as exercise so you don’t need a gym.)
CHALLENGING: Consider a car-free day once a week. (Maybe once a month?)

EASY: Subscribe to environmental news like YES magazine, Sierra Club. Read (or re-read) Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si'.
CHALLENGING: Learn about the practices of indigenous people. What native Americans originally occupied your part of the country?

EASY: Learn about the global Plastic Free July. Do it for a week. OR, join the Cincinnati area Plastic Free July Ecochallenge team here.
CHALLENGING: Join Plastic Free July for the whole month.

EASY: Share: tools with neighbors. Think lawn mower, shovels, drills, saws…
CHALLENGING: Color code glasses, dishes, and other possessions to reduce washing, duplication, sanitation. For example, each child has their own color cup, or put a colored rubber band or other marking device to distinguish one person’s possession from another’s.

EASY: Avoid cleaning products that come packaged in a lot of plastic.
CHALLENGING: Some online stores that specialize in environmentally friendly cleaning products are Blueland, CleanCult, Dropps, Etee, Earth Breeze, TruEarth. Of course transportation offsets some ecological purity and often these are more expensive. You can try making your own cleaners if you have time and want to research it on Google.

EASY: Instead of paper napkins, use cloth napkins – Color code for each family member so they can be reused for up to a week. Wash. Reuse.
CHALLENGING: Advocate with your employer to make environmentally friendly steps in your workplace. Example: reduce unnecessary copying and recycle left over papers after meetings.

EASY: Household lighting may not be the biggest energy suck, but it is something you have control over. For 1 day, try turning off unnecessary lights whenever you leave a room.
CHALLENGING: Make it a habit - continue turning off unused lights for a month, OR commit to doing an Energy Audit for systemic change. Click here or here for background on how.

EASY: Keep a reusable water bottle or beverage cup in your car to avoid plastic bottles/cups.
CHALLENGING: Write to a major retailer in your community. Offer feedback on their business models. For example, do they use excess plastic in their packaging?

EASY: Decluttering tip: Not everything has to be stored in your house. (Think extra sheets, toys, canned goods…) That’s what stores are for.
CHALLENGING: Walk through each room in your home. Notice what you use often vs. what are mementos or “just in case” items. Make 3 piles: Save, Donate and Discard. Do something with the donate and discard piles. Click here for ideas.

EASY: Instead of a plastic gift card, make your own gift card accompanied by cash. If you already have plastic cards, reload them instead of replacing them with new ones.
CHALLENGING: Give an experience instead of a physical gift

31. FOOD
EASY: Food shopping: When possible, patronize local farmer’s markets; Buy fresh.
CHALLENGING: Even better: Grow many vegetables, fruit, produce at home.

32. COOLING & HEATING – Part 1
EASY: AC & Heating. In summer avoid AC until it’s 78°; In winter set heat to go on at 68°
CHALLENGING: Invest in a programable thermostat to make these changes easy so you don’t cool or heat your home when no one is there.

33. COOLING & HEATING – Part 2
EASY: Buy a ceiling fan. In warm weather run it counter-clockwise to cool. In cold weather run it clockwise to force warm air down into the living space.
CHALLENGING: Reduce or eliminate the use of home air-conditioning. Substitute fans or a whole house fan if possible.


EASY: Do not let water run while doing tasks.
CHALLENGING: Install low-flow shower heads and faucet aerators.

EASY: Reflect #1: Take some time to reflect on the past month. What worked? What didn't? What did you learn?
CHALLENGING: Reflect #2: Every action has consequences. Become aware of the outcome of your actions, reduce your impact on others, and walk lightly on Earth. Consider these practices to be a spiritual discipline.

EASY: At home, avoid using paper, plastic, and Styrofoam plates, cups, and utensils.
CHALLENGING: Propose reducing/eliminating paper, plastic, and Styrofoam plates, cups, and utensils at your workplace, where you shop, school, factory

EASY: Keep reusable water bottle/coffee mug, shopping bags in car
CHALLENGING: Drive a fuel-efficient vehicle such as a hybrid or electric car.

EASY: Take a short shower rather than a bath, and shower less often
CHALLENGING: Install a solar water heating unit.

EASY: What clothes are ‘best’ to wear and purchase? The ones you already have
CHALLENGING: Buy less, skip the trendy fast fashion! Think about purchasing high quality and lasting items.

EASY: Generally, clean glass bottles and jars can be recycled in most curbside recycling programs. Do it. (The metal lid can also be recycled but remove it from the jar.)
CHALLENGING: Drinking glasses, light bulbs, mirrors, window glass are generally not accepted in curbside programs. Recycle light bulbs through hardware stores like Home Depot or Lowes. Donate mirrors to a thrift store. Become a recycling expert for your community by googling ways to recycle specialized glass products.

EASY: Keep vegetable bags for reuse at grocery
CHALLENGING: Buy loose products (without plastic wrapping) as much as possible. Reduce frozen food that comes in plastic packaging. Buy fresh when possible.

EASY: Swap clothing with friends and neighbors!
CHALLENGING: Reduce microfibers from entering waterways and the atmosphere by washing your clothes less often, spot clean as needed, and air dry clothing. Mend and patch to extend the life of clothing.

43. GIFT GIVING - Autumn
EASY: As a gift to the environment…spend one evening a week in candlelight with all of the electric lights off.
CHALLENGING: As a gift to your community, do a family service project together.

EASY: Pray: for nature, for leaders to support environmentally sustainable policies/laws,
CHALLENGING: Talk to your pastor, rabbi, faith leader, etc. about mentioning during a religious service how the climate crisis is a spiritual crisis reflecting we humans putting the planet in danger and jeopardizing future generations.

EASY: With colder weather impacting most of the northern hemisphere, resist the urge to turn the thermostat up to 72°. Wear layers. Put on a sweater (or two). Aim for 68° or even lower.
CHALLENGING: Assess the need to increase wall/roof insulation or buy new energy efficient windows with a low "U rating." Act on your research.

46. GIFT GIVING - Christmas
EASY: Give quality/interesting gifts that you already have but no longer need. Donate to a cause in someone's name. For a Plastic-Free, Zero-Waste Gift Guide click here.
CHALLENGING: If you have a talent, hand-make a gift or offer a service instead of buying something. Instead of buying plastic or inflatable lawn decorations, create a scene with sleds, snow people, etc.

EASY: Avoid things with glitter. Glitters are made from micro-plastics and are ingested and detrimental to fish, birds and other wildlife.
CHALLENGING: Buy in bulk rather than individually wrapped items. Check out local “Zero Waste” stores and fill your own reusable containers.

EASY: Hopefully you’ve received a nice Christmas present or two. Identify one current possession that you no longer need and donate it to someone who does need it.
CHALLENGING: Choose one room or closet to do a deep dive decluttering day. If relatives or friends don’t want your extra stuff, research the best places to recycle or dispose of them. Act within the month.

EASY: Read the short REDUCE section of Global Stewards’ Green Eco Tips for Sustainable Living
CHALLENGING: Choose at least 1 item from Global Stewads that you are not already doing and act on it this week.
IMPOSSIBLE: Read all of the comprehensive Global Stewards website and see if you can do 99%. This is such an exhaustive list it is virtually impossible to do everything but see how far you can get.

EASY: Pray for vulnerable peoples and species, those affected by the climate emergency and biodiversity crisis
CHALLENGING: Act on your prayer. Advocate for environmentally friendly policies in your community, place of worship, the world. This usually means attending meetings, signing petitions, getting political.

EASY: Use the cold water setting when using a washing machine. Your clothes will get just as clean. Click here for why. (https://wapo.st/3FcqGZ8) Try dryer balls too.
CHALLENGING: Be aware that clothing marked as stain-resistant or waterproof is often treated with toxic chemicals. Avoid buying these. Click here for why.

EASY: Instead of paper towels use reusable cloth towels or old rags when possible.
CHALLENGING: Try Who Gives a Crap or Betterway plant based toilet paper - no plastic packaging and the TP comes from recycled office paper or bamboo. They also have paper towels and Kleenex type tissues.

EASY: At home recycle glass, cans, newsprint, paper, cardboard, and plastic. Most curbside recycling programs take these.
CHALLENGING: Advocate with your employer, company, or institution to recycle glass, cans, paper, and plastic.

EASY: Research an environmental organization such as Sierra Club, Climate Reality Project, Pachamama Alliance, Greenpeace, Citizens Climate Lobby, Project Drawdown... and make a donation.
CHALLENGING: Become involved in one of the above environmental groups.
Bonus: Support it through investing in stocks and bonds.

EASY: Wash dishes and laundry on a full load. (Update: Many modern dishwashers are more energy efficient and use less water to run 2 half full loads than washing the dishes by hand. Click here.)
CHALLENGING: Install a system at your home to capture and store rainwater.

EASY: Tell a neighbor, friend, or co-worker about a green practice you’ve been doing.
CHALLENGING: Write articles/stories for newsletters or your local paper to help others get in touch with possible actions they can take to further environmental sustainability.

EASY: When possible, use a microwave, toaster oven, or slow cooker rather than an oven/range to save energy.
CHALLENGING: If you’ve already calculated your carbon footprint and are ready to reduce it further, consider a professional energy audit of your home to improve energy efficiency. For info click here. Also, for federal tax rebates currently available for sustainability upgrades.for home energy audits, click here.

EASY: Newspapers often come wrapped in plastic bags. If you don’t have a dog or other use for it most grocery stores have recycling bins for such plastic film since it can’t go in curbside recycling.
CHALLENGING: If your local grocery store still uses plastic bags, join or start a plastic bag free movement in your area. Past Plastics-Cincinnati Coalition is an example.

EASY: Take public transportation or carpool when possible.
CHALLENGING: Reduce air travel. Online meetings have helped with decreasing air travel but consider that optional travel (like vacations) might have the side benefit of exploring the land & communities along the way.

EASY: Read the Introduction to Laudato Si'. It’s only 6 pages.
CHALLENGING: Commit to reading the whole document (72 pages) over the next 6 months. Perhaps ask a friend to accompany you in this reading.

EASY: Clothing, particularly petroleum based garments, are often treated with flame retardant chemicals (PFAS). Learn ways to “greenify” your closet here,
CHALLENGING: Get involved in your local fibershed community!

EASY: During this Holy Week reflect on scriptures related to humility (Phil. 2: 6-8). Examine how you may think of yourself as better than other humans, animals, and nature.
CHALLENGING: During this Holy Week reflect on scriptures related to suffering (John 18-1 – 19:42). 2: 6-8) Examine how your desire to live comfortably may contribute to the suffering of others who don’t have as much money, health, or education.

63. FOOD
EASY: Compost kitchen waste in a container or a remote part of your yard.
CHALLENGING: Veggies are good, but roots are better. Wondering which foods deliver the absolute most nutrients for the absolute least emissions it’s…carrots. (The Climate Diet by Paul Greenberg)

64. EDUCATE YOURSELF - Earth Day is Apr. 22, 2023
EASY: Read Chapter 1 of Laudato Si' (pgs. 6-18)
CHALLENGING: Choose one section of Chapter 1 to take an action on (Pollution, Water, Biodiversity, Breakdown of Society, Inequality, Weak Responses, Opinions)

EASY: Pick up trash along a walking-jogging route.
CHALLENGING: Plant a garden that will attract pollinators. Butterflies, bees, and birds can be your friends.

EASY: “If we can get the banks to shift, that would probably have more global impact than getting Congress to shift.” (Bill McKibben) To find out how banking and pollution are connected read about Third Act.
CHALLENGING: Find out if your bank has large investments in fossil fuels. JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citibank, and Wells Fargo are among the top contenders. Act on this information.

EASY: May Mother Nature nurture your mom today. If your gift is a meal, make it meatless. If your gift is an adventure hike in nature. If your gift is a memory, share stories of your mother’s kindness.
CHALLENGING: Do all three!

68. EDUCATE YOURSELF (LS, Chapter 2) The Gospel of Creation
EASY: Read Chapter 2 of Laudato Si' (sections 62-100)
CHALLENGING: Choose one section (Faith, Biblical Accounts, the Universe, Harmony of Creation, Universal Communion, Goods, or Gaze of Jesus) to take an action on.
Optional Generic ECO-TIP:
EASY: Read an article about the environmental crisis / ecological justice. Google it.
CHALLENGING: Read a book about the environmental crisis and ecological justice.

EASY: Restaurant eating - To avoid Styrofoam bring your own “doggie bag or box”
CHALLENGING: When grocery shopping avoid food/drinks held together with plastic. Some stores use cardboard instead or buy a bigger bottle.

EASY: Turn off appliances when not in use. Think TV, computer, etc.
CHALLENGING: Purchase Energy Star appliances (refrigerator, dishwasher, washer/dryer, water heater, dehumidifier) and high efficiency furnace, air conditioner, and windows.

EASY: Avoid plastic cling wrap, plastic bags or containers, especially if they can only be used one time and then discarded.
CHALLENGING: Consider alternatives to plastic food containers such as glass jars, silicone containers & lids, beeswax wraps, etc. Do some research.

EASY: Spend some time walking, hiking, or biking in nature this week.
CHALLENGING: Try to avoid using a car for one day (or at least one trip) this week. Learn what public transportation is available in your area and substitute it (or share a ride with a friend) to minimize car use.

EASY: Inform yourself about the U.N. Plastics Treaty (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xoHCkniPt9w) by watching this 3½ minute video supported by The Story of Stuff Project. Ask yourself what you can do to support the treaty’s goals and passage.
CHALLENGING: If you can take the time and are willing to be disturbed, I challenge you to watch at least one of these 3 videos (each about 45 min.)
• The Recycling Myth (https://vimeo.com/665182954 - password: why22)
• We, the Guinea Pigs (https://vimeo.com/703665418 - password: why22)
• Coca-cola's Plastic Promises (https://vimeo.com/662987000) - password: why22)

74. EDUCATE YOURSELF more on Laudato Si’
EASY: Read Laudato Si’ Chapter 3 (bit.ly/3pCSCjE) on The Human Roots of the Ecological Crisis which covers Technology, Globalization, and Anthropocentrism. After reading Chapter 3, figure out what “Anthropocentrism” means. Google it if you must.
CHALLENGING: Explain “Anthropocentrism” to someone.??
Optional Generic ECO-TIP:
EASY: Seek out someone who is impacted by global warming (a farmer, shop keeper, someone who has lost a job…) and listen to their challenges.
CHALLENGING: Learn about the brands you buy by reading Behind the Brands and consider whether you should change any ways you spend your money.

EASY: If the nature of your job allows, work at home one day a week. If not, try public transportation.
CHALLENGING: Purchase a fuel-efficient car such as a hybrid or electric car.

EASY: Turn off the water faucet while brushing teeth or shaving.
CHALLENGING: Try taking a shower in the time that your favorite song lasts. (The challenging part is choosing and playing a short favorite song.??)

EASY: Donate quality clothing to Goodwill or St. Vincent de Paul or click here (https://imperfectidealist.com/where-to-donate-clothes-besides-goodwill/) for more ideas.
CHALLENGING: Reduce your own purchases of clothing by mending the clothes you have or swapping clothes with friends.

EASY: Read the 3 page EarthBeat article, Calling fossil fuel investments sinful, global interfaith coalition outlines moral standards for climate finance. (bit.ly/3NcGa1Z)
CHALLENGING: Ponder the EarthBeat article. Decide what you agree or disagree with. Is there a faith congregation that you can propose an action to?

79. EDUCATE YOURSELF more on Laudato Si’
EASY: Read Laudato Si’ chapter 4 (bit.ly/3pCSCjE) on Integral Ecology (paragraphs 137-162) which covers the ecology of Economics, Daily Life, the Common Good, Generational Justice, and more.
CHALLENGING: As a result of your reading choose 1 new action to implement in your life.
Optional Generic ECO-TIP:
EASY: Spend 5 minutes checking out the website Skeptical Science. What do you think?
CHALLENGING: Read 1 article on Skeptical Science and discuss it with a friend or skeptic


EASY: For community meals: Instead of plastic utensils, carry a metal collapsible cutlery set or a Spork
CHALLENGING: At home, avoid Teflon coated non-stick pans as Teflon contains plastic. Invest in ceramic pans instead.

EASY: Review my Eco-Friendly household cleaning products list at bit.ly/44rpb3C
CHALLENGING: Choose one new product to try.

EASY: Turn off computers and other appliances when not in use.
CHALLENGING: Clean or replace filters for all appliances/furnace/air conditioners that have filters.

83. EDUCATE YOURSELF more on Laudato Si’
EASY: Read Laudato Si’ Chapter 5 (bit.ly/3pCSCjE,,Sections 163-201) on Taking Action on International, National, and Local Dialogue, Decision Making, Politics & the Economy, Religious Dialogue.
CHALLENGING: Decide one of the above topics to act on.
Optional Generic ECO-TIP:
EASY: Google Regenerative agriculture vs Industrial agriculture. Do you understand the difference? Then google “What are the pros & cons of Industrial farming?”.
CHALLENGING:. Choose a Regenerative agriculture farming practice to support.

84. FOOD
EASY: Support farmers and reduce food-miles by buying local produce
CHALLENGING: Commit to a “hunger meal” once a week. This might mean skipping the meal or eating only 1 item (like an apple or simple vegetable.)

EASY: When shopping for clothes, evaluate whether you really need another x. Count how many you already have?
CHALLENGING:.If you decide the clothing item really is a necessary purchase, evaluate the material it is made out of. Prioritize natural materials rather than synthetics, acrylics, etc.

EASY: Take a hike in the woods. Listen to the subtle sounds of nature. How many can you identify?
CHALLENGING: In addition to a hike in the woods, “hike” through the poorest neighborhood of your city/town. Listen to the sounds. Are they any different?

87. EDUCATE YOURSELF more on Laudato Si’
EASY: Read 2 of the 9 sub-chapters of Laudato Si’ Chapter 6 (bit.ly/3pCSCjE) on Ecological Education & Spirituality. (Sections 202-245) Why were these 2 of special interest to you?
CHALLENGING: Read the other 7 sub-chapters. It’s a lot to digest. Which of them calls you to action?
Optional Generic ECO-TIP
EASY: Find a newspaper article to read about what your city/town is doing (or not doing) to protect the environment.
CHALLENGING:. Figure out a way to join those who are working to protect the environment.

EASY: To reduce Single Use Plastics (SUPS) carry snacks from home (fruit, nuts, etc.) in a paper bag or reusable bag
CHALLENGING: Buy juices and soft drinks in cans rather than plastic bottles. After use, recycle them.

EASY: Repair leaks around windows/doors. Lock windows to seal
CHALLENGING: Repair hot water leaks. Insulate water heater (blanket) and hot water pipes (wrap).

EASY: When shopping, look for items made as close to home as possible as a way to help reduce the carbon footprint of global shipping. Not only will you save money but also help preserve natural resources.
CHALLENGING: Also look for items that have a reputation for being sustainably made (compostable phone cases, sunglasses made from recycled ocean plastics, etc.).

EASY: Dental care: Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth.
CHALLENGING: Consider a bamboo toothbrush. Try silk dental floss; many come in refillable glass containers. Check out toothpaste tablets instead of a plastic tube.

92. SPIRITUALITY (within Laudato Si’)
EASY: Bring your environmental hopes and concerns to prayer. Read A Prayer for our Earth and A Christian Prayer In Union With Creation (final paragraph of Laudato Si' - before the footnotes).
CHALLENGING: Choose the prayer you identify most with and meditate on how this applies to your life and act on it.
Optional Spiritualiy ECO-TIP
EASY: Reflect on your environmental hopes and concerns. Find a prayer or meditation in your faith tradition for our earth and environment.
CHALLENGING: Meditate on how this reflection applies to your life and act on it.

EASY: If you must use plastic bags, when possible rinse them out after use and reuse.
CHALLENGING: Batteries, printer cartridges, and cell phones are often hard to recycle. Urge your city or county to implement periodic collections of hazardous waste materials like these.

EASY: Look for upcycling opportunities in your area OR check out 17 Genius Things You Can Do With Old Clothes You Can't Donate.
CHALLENGING: Sew and/or mend some of your own clothes.

EASY: Enjoy house plants and pets to bring a bit of nature inside your living space.
CHALLENGING: Over the Thanksgiving holiday invite your family to take a walk/hike in nature. Thank our Creator for the beauty and value of nature.
BONUS: 30 Reasons Not To Go Shopping On Black Friday, or on many other days.

96. FOOD
EASY: Don’t waste food. Only put food on your plate that you think you can reasonably eat.
CHALLENGING: Only buy food that you think you will consume and use all that you buy.

EASY: As we approach Christmas, it’s tempting to put the rest of life on hold. But…think now about at least 1 way to reduce waste during the holidays. Maybe buy less, decorate more simply…
CHALLENGING: Read Pope Francis recent 15 page letter on the climate crisis, Laudate Deum, for inspiration. It’s worth the time.

EASY: Read 30+ Eco-Friendly Tips for a Sustainable Holiday. Choose 1 to implement.
CHALLENGING: Choose 5 of the Eco-Friendly Tips to do and make sure at least 1 is a new practice for you.

EASY: Re-use paper, boxes, & bags from prior years. If purchasing holiday lights be sure they are LEDs.
CHALLENGING: Make a wreath out of objects found in nature.

EASY: Relax. Focus on the person you are giving a gift to more than fancy wrapping. Perhaps use a cloth bag and slip in a heartfelt note to the recipient.
CHALLENGING: Buy next year’s gifts/wrappings during this year’s clearance sales.

EASY: Say no to single-use plastic straws and take away coffee cups.
CHALLENGING: Bring your own reusable carryout cup, OR slow down, relax and drink your beverage at the eatery.

EASY: Layer Up – During cold months wear an extra layer around your home thus allowing you to lower the setting on your thermostat.
CHALLENGING: Install a programmable thermostat which allows you to automatically reduce heating at night or when no one is home.

EASY: Instead of disposable tissues, use handkerchiefs when possible.
CHALLENGING: Instead of paper copies of stuff, use electronic media when possible/practical.

EASY: Buy Products with less packaging.
CHALLENGING: If/when your computer, printer, phone, or other tech equipment has become obsolete, research how to safely dispose of these devices.

EASY: Meditate once a week on your relationship with the ecosystem in which you live.
CHALLENGING: Commit to act on at least one environmental cause that concerns you. Write a letter to the editor, join an environmental group, donate to an eco-cause…

EASY: Talk to a neighbor or friend about your commitment to care for planet earth and an eco-friendly practice you do. Sign up for Katharine Hayhoe’s climate newsletter.
CHALLENGING: Call, write, or email your mayor or other community leader about how climate affects your region. Ask them to take action. Extra credit: Do the same for your senator or representative. Click here for contact information. .

107. GENEROSITY (Lent-Spiritual)
EASY: As Christians prune our lives and spirits during Lent (starting Feb. 14), look for 1 item a week to give away to someone in need.
CHALLENGING: How about looking for 1 item a day until Easter to give away to someone in need.

EASY: When shopping, look for items made as close to home as possible to support local businesses and reduce the carbon footprint of shipping.
CHALLENGING: When shopping focus on sustainably made products (compostable phone cases, sunglasses made from recycled ocean plastics, etc.) Be brave enough to not be a slave to fast fashion.

EASY: Avoid chewing gum. It’s made with plastic.
CHALLENGING: Research what your local garbage collection company does with plastic trash. Then research what organizations are available in your community that recycle #1, #2, and #5 plastics.

EASY: Christians often fast from meat on Fridays during Lent. Why not add Meatless Mondays till Easter. (https://www.mondaycampaigns.org/meatless-monday)
Optional Generic ECO TIP:
To reduce greenhouse gas emissions that result from the production of meat, try eating less meat. You can start with Meatless Mondays for a month.
CHALLENGING:Commit to Meatless Mondays for the rest of the year. Eating less (or no) meat reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

EASY: Watch the inspiring 14 minute Ted talk Are We the Last Generation?...” by Hannah Ritchie about hope for a sustainable future. (Alert: be patient with the 14 second promo ad leading into the video.)
CHALLENGING: You found the bottom right sound icon & put up with the video ad; Now take one action prompted by this Ted talk to spread a message of hope.

EASY: Reduce the environmental impact of your driving by driving no more than the speed limit, making easy stops and starts, not idling.
CHALLENGING: Burn less gas by keeping your car tuned up, change the oil/air filters regularly, when using the AC use the recirculating mode. Consider buying an electric vehicle.

EASY: Install a power strip for appliances to avoid drawing ghost electricity.
CHALLENGING: Set your refrigerator at 36F to 42F, your freezer at -5F to +6F, and your water heater at 120F.

114. SPIRITUALITY (Easter)
EASY: At Eastertime Christians remember Jesus’ resurrection. May we each rise above taking our life on Earth for granted. What specific action can I take to honor God’s creation this week.
Optional Generic ECO TIP:
We humans are not the center of the universe. What specific action can I take to honor creation by caring for another - animal, plant, air, ground, or water this week.
CHALLENGING: Beyond my personal and family lifestyle, what actions can I take with others to protect creation for future generations? Start doing it.

EASY: Review the cleaning products you use for the kitchen and bathroom. How many are made of single use plastics (SUPs)? If you can refill the container you don’t need to count it – yet.
CHALLENGING: Decide to find substitutes for at least 10% of your SUP containers. Click here for options.

116. EARTH DAY 2024
EASY: April 22 is Earth Day 2024. Planet vs Plastics is the theme this year. Commit to not using or buying any plastic on April 22.
CHALLENGING: Educate yourself on ways to reduce your use of plastics in general. Click here to read many ways. Choose at least 1 new action to take.

EASY: Plant a vegetable or fruit in your yard or near a window. If your dwelling cannot support a home-grown crop, check out if there is a community garden near you.
CHALLENGING: Plant a full vegetable garden or join a community garden near you.

EASY: Review the cleaning products you use for the kitchen and bathroom. How many are made of single use plastics (SUPs)? If you can refill the container you don’t need to count it – yet.
CHALLENGING: Decide to find substitutes for at least 10% of your SUP containers. Click here for options. Pick at least one new action from this Eco-Friendly Spring Cleaning checklist.)

EASY: Learn about a local environmental organization, for example, Sierra Club, The Nature Conservancy, Catholic Climate Covenant, 350.org
CHALLENGING: Join your chosen organization, support it with your time and money.

120. WATER
EASY: To conserve water, wash your car less frequently.
CHALLENGING: When your car does need washing, consider using a commercial car wash. The average homeowner uses more than 100 gallons of water to wash a car, while most car washes use far less water. Tip: Using a hose nozzle to stop the constant water flow can reduce the water volume significantly..

EASY: Promote a green practice with a fellow worker, client, customer, student.
CHALLENGING: Submit a public comment on proposed federal regulations. You can find opportunities at https://www.regulations.gov

122. FOOD
EASY: Veggies are good. Especially think root crops like carrots. Carrots provide the absolute most nutrients for the least emissions. (The Climate Diet by Paul Greenberg)
CHALLENGING: It takes some time, but try planting your own carrots or other healthy crop.

Susan Vogt
Author, Speaker, Coach
523 E. Southern Ave. : Covington, KY 41015
Phone: (859) 291-6197 : Fax: (859) 291-4742
E-Mail: SusanVogt1@gmail.com : Website: www.SusanVogt.net