The environment is God's gift to everyone, and in our use of it we have a responsibility towards the poor, towards future generations and towards humanity as a whole. . . Our duties towards the environment are linked to our duties towards the human person, considered in himself and in relation to others. It would be wrong to uphold one set of duties while trampling on the other. Charity in Truth (Caritas in Veritate), #48, 51
Equally worrying is the ecological question which accompanies the problem of consumerism and which is closely connected to it. In his desire to have and to enjoy rather than to be and to grow, man consumes the resources of the earth and his own life in an excessive and disordered way. . . . Man, who discovers his capacity to transform and in a certain sense create the world through his own work, forgets that this is always based on God's prior and original gift of the things that are. Man thinks that he can make arbitrary use of the earth, subjecting it without restraint to his will, as though it did not have its own requisites and a prior God-given purpose, which man can indeed develop but must not betray. Instead of carrying out his role as a co-operator with God in the work of creation, man sets himself up in place of God and thus ends up provoking a rebellion on the part of nature, which is more tyrannized than governed by him. On the Hundredth Year (Centesimus Annus), #37
Some of USD’s Institutional Achievements as Stewards of Creation
From the Office for Sustainability (2013):
At the University of San Diego, staff and students strive to keep sustainability at the forefront of their actions. These actions were recognized in March 2012 by the California Center for Sustainable Energy (CCSE) when USD was named "Outstanding Sustainable Organization of the Year" and cited as a "leader in sustainable facilities and programs". The USD community has pioneered and implemented many sustainable practices - from a 5,000 rooftop solar panel installation to opening the first E-Waste Collection Center on a college campus - that have highlighted our stewardship to our local community and global environment. In addition to these accomplishments, USD has saved 20% of energy usage, 30 million gallons of water and diverted 60% of our waste from landfills in the past year alone. We look towards the future as USD will continue to strive to lower our environmental impact to reach our ultimate goal of being the most sustainable college campus in the country.
For a complete list of accomplishments and upcoming projects visit www.sandiego.edu/sustainability.
Resources for further reading and understanding:
Renewing the Earth
An Invitation to Reflection and Action on Environment in Light of Catholic Social Teaching
A Pastoral Statement of the United States Catholic Conference
November 14, 1991
Selected Quotations from Catholic Social Teaching Documents: