Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Living an Environmentally Friendly Life

A journalist writing for the Catholic Times recounts opening his lunch box to find the usual egg on top of his rice, but for some reason it did not look the same as in the past: the colors were different for both the egg yolk and the white. He asked his wife and was told that she was not able to buy the organic eggs as in the past. She also mentioned that the outside of the eggs were clean in comparison to the organic eggs. Often the natural cuticle that covers the egg is washed away in cleaning the eggs, he said. These thoughts made him reflect on the recent opening of the Ecological Learning Center in the Pusan Diocese on April 6th.

Ecology and environment-friendly living is a frequent topic in the Catholic press. The diocese of Pusan has done something about living more conscientiously with the natural environment when they began construction of the Center in 2011, without any publicity. The intent was to search for the essence of creation and to see how it is to be lived in the here and now, and how to do this practically, by encouraging direct experience.

It will be a place of learning for those dreaming of going  back to the farm, a place for children to learn about nature, and for all of us to experience what is possible in a naturally friendly environment. Zero emissions is the goal:  energy sources are to emit no waste products that pollute the environment or disrupt the climate, and heating is to be all solar. They use Bacteria Mineral Water and have a building for recycling and an ecological pond.

Plans are to have a daily Mass, lectures on ecology, retreats, and meditations for healing. This year they want to begin with the school for ecology, followed by programs on how to experience what is presented, setting up a camp for children and providing training for those who want to return to the farm. The Center will have rice and dry fields and orchards, where hands-on  farming will be possible.

This is the first such Center in the country, built entirely from the finances of the diocese. It is an unprecedented effort to put into practice what many have simply talked about, providing a place where anyone who desires to do something about the environment can now do so, finding out first-hand what it means to have a friendly relationship to the environment.

Behind the efforts of the Center is their aim to provide the learning needed to live a simpler life, to anyone interested; which in practical terms means to live more poorly. But the Center not only intends to teach us the ways to relate to the  environment. It also intends to help us relate to one another more simply, and with more initiative and spontaneity.

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