November 16, 2021

Sister Mary Rita with her bamboo paper towels and reusable water bottle.

Sister Mary Rita Rohde embodies the SNJM commitment to caring for the Earth. “For me, it’s a moral issue,” she says. “We need to be morally responsible for generations to come.”

When asked for two actions people can take to make a difference, she quickly identified eliminating the use of plastics and not eating beef.

She knows it’s not easy to be plastic-free, but when she goes shopping in her town of Sunnyside, WA, she chooses bar soap instead of liquid, brings mesh or paper bags for produce and avoids buying water or other drinks in plastic bottles.

Regarding beef, Sister Mary Rita explains that there are two related concerns: the methane that cows produce, which adds to the planet’s greenhouse gas problem, and the destruction of trees in order to provide grazing land for cows, especially in the Amazon region. When you consider that it takes more than 1,800 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef, the environmental impact becomes even more significant. She notes that good alternatives are available that make it easier to eliminate beef from your diet.

“Our interconnectedness with all of creation means that the actions of every individual matter,” Sister Mary Rita concluded.