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Justice & Peace

Earth Day 2021

 

Sharon Lavigne, a black woman wearing a yellow shirt and holding a bouquet of flowers, stands on a dirt road in a field
Sharon Lavigne bringing flowers to the graves of former slaves at the site of the Formosa Complex in St. James Parish, Louisiana. (Photo provided by Sharon Lavigne)

The U.S. Federation of the Sisters of St Joseph continues its focus on the impact of single-use plastics and the intersection of racism and climate change. This Earth Day, our advocacy efforts are in partnership with Rise St James. Join our efforts this April by taking action with Rise St. James, attending our Earth Day webinar, and using any of our Earth Day prayer and education resources. Details are below.

Spotlight on Rise St. James

St James Parish in Louisiana, part of an area known as "Cancer Alley," is home to seven of the 10 census tracts with the highest cancer rate in the nation. Recently, the United Nations and a team of Human Rights experts "called on the [U.S.] government to deliver environmental justice in communities all across America, starting with St James Parish, while upholding that corporations also bear responsibility and should conduct environmental and human rights impact assessments as part of the due diligence process." We join with Rise St. James to oppose the building of a massive petrochemical complex that threatens to double toxic emission in the region.

Built and operated by Formosa Plastics, this complex would manufacture and supply plastic resins and petrochemicals to make throwaway plastics like shopping bags and plastic cups. 

As we advocate for reducing single-use plastics, this is the wrong time to expand their production. It’s the wrong place too. This largely African American community already bears an undue burden of the nation’s pollution. Toxic air emissions are linked to increased levels of cancer, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases in this area. 

Sharon Lavigne, the Leader of Rise St James, will be our featured speaker on Earth Day. Learn more about Rise St James' efforts by watching this engaging 12-minute video. You can also read our website story where Julia Morris interviews Sharon about her work, St. James Parish, and her organization.

We are continuing to work with Sharon Lavigne to see how the Federation can best support her work to stop the construction of more plastics plants in St. James Parish and "Cancer Alley." Our sisters in Louisiana are engaged and guiding our efforts. We look forward to sharing more ways to get involved.

Earth Day Event

A photo of a photographer taking a picture of three women in a field earing bright yellow rise St. James t-shirts. In front of them is a sign that says "stop killing with toxic emissions"

Thursday, April 22
12 pm EDT  /  11 am CDT  /  10 am MDT  /  9 am PDT

Hear Sharon Lavigne, the dynamic founder of RISE St. James, talk about her work to protect the health of her parish and those in "Cancer Alley" in Louisiana. Free and open to the public.

 

Resources

Blue and white logo of the United Nations Environmental Programme"Our Planet is Drowning in Plastic Pollution — It’s Time for Change" prepared by the United Nations Environment Program 

English, Japanese, Spanish
This quick overview reminds us of how plastics became the problem that it is, what happens if we leave it unchecked, and what we can do. 

 

Four Dimensions of Ecological Conversion

English, Japanese, Spanish 
Sr. Mary Ann Casanova explores four dimensions of ecological conversion and illustrates this conversion with a retelling of the Trek of the Seven Sisters, the migration of seven Sisters of St. Joseph from St. Louis to Tucson in 1870.

A screen shot of the cover of the prayer journal featuring a lime green background and a blue and green image of the worldInteractive Prayer Journal

English, Japanese, and Spanish
As an accompaniment to the article on Ecological Conversion, each chapter offers interactive and reflective practices to delve deeper into each dimension. For use from April 1 through April 24.

 

Eco-Friendly and Fair-Trade Catalogue 

This is a listing of products recommended to you by our St. Joseph Community. Please try them and recommend your own favorite products for inclusion.

Corporate Voice Statement

This statement issued by the U.S. Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph is accompanied by calls to action.

Earth Day Prayer

English, Japanese, and Spanish

A meditative prayer from our Federation JPIC group for Earth Day. Suitable for small or large groups.