Author Robert Swan wrote, "The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it." When Swan's words were written, the world was a much different place. More specifically, people still had library cards. Modernity, however, has brought us access to all of the information in the known world at the touch of a button. And while many ignored Al Gore's pleas throughout his film, "An Inconvenient Truth", it continues to become more difficult to remain oblivious about the state of our environmental climate.
The double-edged sword is that the same modern existence which allows us access to such knowledge tends to distract us from thinking about the distant future, as we are conditioned to favor instant gratification and often shirk the aged notions of diligence and patience. As climate change is exponential, the solution needs to be more immediate than many people realize, and it needs to come from the individuals who truly believe in leaving the Earth in better condition than how it existed when they inherited it. For, as we all know, it will be our children who will either reap the benefits or suffer the consequences.
Caritas Vehicle Services would like to recognize a special Community of dedicated spiritual leaders who have voluntarily chosen to carry the torch of sustainability, and they are The Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Based out of Monroe, Michigan, the IHM Sisters have helped the poor, educated the youth, pursued Social Justice, and served God and their Community since 1845. Their most groundbreaking (literally) influence, however, came from the renovation of their main residence in Monroe, their Motherhouse.
Home to over 300 Sisters, the Motherhouse turned 70 in the late 1990's and was in desperate need of extensive repairs. The IHM Sisters, recognized for wearing iconic blue robes (?), faced a crossroads: either they would choose to level the structure and rebuild, causing a mess of debris and an inevitable waste of materials...OR: renovate! Wanting to rebuild and recycle rather than destroy, they chose to renovate their home and, subsequently, their lives.
Embracing Sustainability as the only moral choice for the future, the IHM Sisters stated their vision as follows: "To bring about respect for, the nurturing and promoting the liberation and well-being of all persons and all of nature as God's good creation." Understanding the interconnections of every living and non-living entity on the planet is a key tenet of their spirituality and belief in God's will.
In 2001, they set about re-creating their home using "Green Design". The Sisters decided on a geothermal heating system that re-uses water and saves energy, a graywater system, the recycling and refurbishing of old building materials, energy-efficient lights, and indoor environmental quality. When the project was finally completed in 2003, it was a marvel of modern innovation and green technology. According to the IHM's website, the structure was, "...[ranked] as one of the Midwest’s largest residential sustainable renovations registered with the U.S. Green Building Council; the project earned LEED-NC certification and 10 local, regional and national awards, including two from the Environmental Protection Agency."
The following link will lead you to a professionally produced video that documents the renovations of the Motherhouse and spotlights the pioneering planetary conscience of the Sisters of IHM. And, to learn how you can follow the example of the Blue Nuns, stay tuned to our blog for more articles on green technology in the auto industry!
HERE'S THE VIDEO: The Blue Nuns Go Green - Video