Justice, Peace & Integrity of Creation

Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate  United States Province

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La Vista Ecological Learning Center Launches an Exploration of Laudato Si through Field Trips

January 6th, 2022

By Sister Maxine Pohlman, SSND, Director, La Vista Ecological Learning Center 

OMI Novices and Sister Maxine are finding concepts in Laudato Si come alive through field trips in the Godfrey area. In the encyclical Pope Francis calls us to “become painfully awareto dare to turn what is happening to the world into our own personal suffering and thus to discover what each of us can do about it.” That is our goal, and our first field trip explored chapter one, “What Is Happening to Our Common Home,” focusing on pollution, waste, and the throwaway culture.

We began by driving across the river in order to pass close to the coal-fired Sioux Power Plant which generates our electricity, and which is visible from the Novitiate.  With our own eyes we saw pollution spewing out of the stack, 3 million tons of coal ash, and ponds of polluted wastewater. The encyclical states, “Each year hundreds of millions of waste are generated, much of it non-biodegradable, highly toxic and radioactive,… from industrial sources. The earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth.”  Seeing this up close was a sobering experience and helped us understand why fossil fuels need to be replaced with clean, renewable energy if we are to counter pollution and toxic waste.

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