The Sisters of Charity of Nazareth said during the event on Sept. 12 that they have made significant strides in developing and implementing green initiatives since they added a commitment to care for creation to their mission statement in the mid-1990s.

The statement reads in part: “Sisters and Associates are committed to work for justice in solidarity with oppressed peoples, especially the economically poor and women, and to care for the earth.”

More recently, the governing body of the SCNs approved a proposal to reduce their green house gas emissions to zero by the year 2037 for the U.S. and Belize and by 2047 for India, Botswana and Nepal –— the five countries where the SCNs serve.

“Yes, we realize this is a very ambitious goal. However, we feel like we are in a great position to be the leaders in this and we have a commitment, we have resources, we have desire. If nothing else, we feel like our effort will send out huge ripple effects to others around the world,” said Carolyn Cromer, director of ecological sustainability for the SCNs.

Cromer, who began work with the SCNs in April, said the zero emissions goal is not extreme. It is right in line, she said, with the recommendations made by the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the Paris Treaty.

The Sisters of Charity have also committed to becoming a “zero waste campus,” meaning that everything is either compostable or recyclable and nothing is sent to a landfill.

Cromer is completing a series of waste audits, where she and others on the recycling committee take an inventory of the SCNs’ waste.

“It’s a way to create a baseline for ourselves. We are literally separating waste and auditing. We are weighing what gets put into recycling and what gets put in trash cans,” she said.

By inspecting the trash, Cromer said, observations can be made about what’s being used and how to reduce it.

“We’ve been here on this land for 195 years, so we’ve always treated the land with care. We’ve always felt like it was sacred,” said Diane Curtis, director of communications for the SCNs. “It’s a natural extension to care for the land here and every country we are engaged in.”

Read more at The Record.