As we approach the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation this Tuesday, I hope all readers will join in its observance, in one way or another. Yes, this is obviously a day of prayer as its name emphasizes. At the same time, this is also a day for committed action, as Pope Francis’s letter establishing this day on the Catholic calendar indicates: “The annual World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation will offer individual believers and communities a fitting opportunity to reaffirm their personal vocation to be stewards of creation, to thank God for the wonderful handiwork which he has entrusted to our care, and to implore his help for the protection of creation as well as his pardon for the sins committed against the world in which we live.”
One way in which you can easily express your commitment to the care of creation is by checking the ingredients in your toothpaste: if microbeads are in your toothpaste, put it away and find one that does not contain such plastics (usually labeled as polyethylene or polypropylene). Microbeads, which are used as abrasives in a number of beauty products, attract toxic substances when they enter the waterways (and thereby the food chain!). A huge amount of these microbeads have been found, for example in the Great Lakes, the largest freshwater eco-system on earth. So, if your toothpaste contains these beads: “implore God’s pardon for the sins committed against the world in which we live.” Then go and change your toothpaste.