Opinion: The Loyola community needs to “think globally, act locally”


Photo courtesy of Aimee Thomas

Aimee Thomas

Waaaaaaay back in August 2019 I wrote an opinion piece in The Maroon challenging all to do their part in saving the Earth. On Wednesday, April 22 we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the original Earth Day which sought to bring awareness to all Americans by celebrating our Earth and realizing that we only have one so we need to be kind to her.

Growing up in a household with a father at the forefront of all environmental issues in southeast Louisiana, thinking about my actions with respect to the consequences to the Earth was second nature, kind of like putting your seatbelt on when you first get into your car or saying “God bless you” when someone sneezes.

However, I have learned throughout my life that not all people had similar upbringings and that turning a light off when you leave a room is not second nature to most.

I have always attempted to do my part by living by the motto, “If not us, who? If not now, when?,” when focused on doing what is right for the environment.

As the director of the Environment Program at Loyola this past academic year, we have implemented environmental awareness campaigns to remind us to reduce our impact, like “Strawless September” and “No Litter December,” but we still have a long way to go.

While we know that large change begins with personal commitment, now more than ever it is time to make that personal commitment and appreciate all things living, big and small and ultimately, care for our home.

If we don’t do the small things, how can we expect to do the big things.

As a science professor at a Jesuit institution, it is refreshing to work with students who are always striving for the Magis, the more, and to know that for the first time ever, we have a Jesuit Pope who understands the importance of our Earth and all of her critters.

We can find God in all things and still learn to critically think about the impacts human decisions place on the environment.

Current environmental issues have economic, political, technical, cultural, social and ecological implications and studying them from an interdisciplinary approach allows students to use sharpened critical thinking skills about human involvement and unintended consequences of environmental issues.

Just this past year, the Society of Jesus established four Universal Apostolic Preferences to receive focus over the next ten years, two of which include “to walk with the outcasts of the world in a mission of reconciliation and justice” and “care for our common home” while “journeying with youth.”

As Father Sosa, Superior General of the Society of Jesus writes, “Youth is the stage of human life when individuals make the fundamental decisions by which they insert themselves into society, seek to give meaning to their existence, and realize their dreams.”

So, as I did in August, I again, challenge you, while you have this time away from our new “normal,” to contemplate your path, your passion and figure out how you can turn it into purpose.

Continue to make a difference in your world by appreciating our home (Earth) and becoming empowered to go forth and set the world on fire.