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The Most Eco-Responsible Lifestyle

Green Hotel.
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1) Introduction

What is the most eco-responsible, or eco-friendly lifestyle? If we held Ecology Olympics, which way of life would win the gold medal? I'm not talking here about small improvements, tips like "take the bus rather than your car", or "bring your reusable grocery bags instead of asking for plastic bags" and so on. No. I'm talking about The Whole Shebang, the lifestyle that, if it were adopted by all, would solve all our problems of climate change, pollution, depletion of our non-renewable natural resources, etc.

2) What would this lifestyle look like?

What would be the main characteristics of the most eco-responsible lifestyle? Let's think out loud:

2.1) Living crammed like sardines. We often hear that the lifestyle of North Americans is "urbanized". That's statistically wrong. We are "suburbanized", not urbanized. Many North Americans have a single-family detached house, a yard with lawn, a car (often more than one) they are forced to use daily because they live far away from their jobs, and so on. This "suburbanized" lifestyle causes deforestation and the elimination of natural habitats of wild animals, pollution by car transportation, greenhouse gases, unnecessary energy consumption (because a large building housing many people costs less to heat or cool than many detached homes), etc.

Illegal immigrants piled up in the back of a truck.
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2.2) Stop reproducing ourselves. No need for complex reasoning here. The human species is the most damaging to the environment. The less we reproduce, the less pressure we put on natural resources, clean water, wilderness, and so on.

Rabbits.
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2.3) Eliminate private property (radical communism). You may have once looked at all the people in a big department store like Walmart, everyone consuming like there's no tomorrow, so that everyone might have their lawn mower, their food processor, their exercise bicycle, and so on. If people shared their possessions, we could slow down the frantic race of the consumer society.

Communist heman and woman.

2.4) Don't move and breathe as little as possible. Most people want to "have fun". Whether it's by snowmobiling, jetskiing, travelling around the world in jet aircraft, or going on boat cruises, the urge to "have fun" is one of the worst ecological disasters. Ideally, people would find it fun to live like the crew of a submarine, nervously waiting for the next depth charge, while trying not to make noise, and breathing as little as possible.

Submarine crew trying to minimize noise and breathing.
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3) Hell on Earth, or Paradise on Earth?

Duh! Have we just described Hell on Earth? Who would want to adopt such a lifestyle? How could one be happy living like this? You already knew the answer, didn't you?

Nuns.
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And yes, the Catholic Church had already invented the most eco-responsible lifestyle, almost two thousand years ago! How could we do better than a group of old-fashioned Catholic nuns?

3.1) Greenhouse gases, what greenhouse gases? Nuns all live in the same place, and work where they live! Other than going for a walk in the garden for some exercise, they have no reason to burn fossil fuels!

Nun on a scooter.
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3.2) Is it possible to "eat local" more than that? What could be better than eating the food you grow in your own garden! Of course, there isn't as much variety as in a big supermarket, but nuns religiously believe that their God is not their belly [Ph 3:19], so they have no complicated requirements for food.

Nuns gardening.
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3.3) Voluntary simplicity! The opposite of frantic consumption is to be satisfied with the bare minimum. Just go visit any nun's cell to see voluntary simplicity pushed to the limit! (Well, it's actually called a "vow of poverty".) And of course, accumulating objects for oneself is out of the question, everything is shared! It's "communism", in the good sense of the word! [Ac 4:32],

Nun living with simplicity.
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3.4) Throwing something away? No! We'll fix it! If there is one category of the population that doesn't like to throw away a broken object to buy a new one, it's Catholic nuns! They will repair and re-repair, to "stretch" the life of each object!

Sister Fix-It.
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3.5) Having lots of children, without making babies! We all know about the "Vow of chastity", but few have heard of the "motherhood of nuns". St. Thomas Aquinas asks at one point a question about fatherhood and motherhood. Do parents have spiritual parenthood, or bodily parenthood? Answer: both! They must give their children physical life, but also spiritual life (get them baptized, teach them moral virtues, etc.). Priests and nuns, on the other side, have only spiritual parenthood (which is nonetheless real).

Nun with many children.
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3.6) Don't speak, don't move, breathe as little as possible? Have you ever observed a nun adoring Jesus-Eucharist? Contemplation of Truth is the most noble, the most enjoyable, and the least energy-consuming activity.

Nun adoring.
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4) Conclusion

This article focuses on the most eco-responsible lifestyle. But we could also ask ourselves what is the least selfish lifestyle. But again here, the race would be won in advance. Old fashioned nuns would still win the gold medal.

Nun at a patient's bedside.
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Nun teaching.
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Mother Theresa of Calcutta.
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