When was the last time you were astounded by the beauty of nature?
It happened to me by surprise last weekend when a friend and I stumbled upon an Earth Day Fair at a local park. To be honest Earth Day isn’t something I celebrate or anticipate, so the eco-friendly exhibitors and vendors didn’t hold much fascination for me—until I saw Sylvester. Sylvester is a Great Horned Owl, a bona fide hoot owl and the largest native to the area. He sat on his perch staring out with hypnotizing golden eyes utterly unperturbed by the people staring back at him. He looked so perfect, so awesome to behold, that had I not seen him turn his head or blink I would have doubted him to be real. I was captivated by the beauty of this creature and felt like I could stare right back at him all day.
An experience of beauty always makes an impression on us. What began as a normal day turned into one of encounter and contemplation. At the very least, it made me think that I should start taking measures to reduce my carbon footprint so that creatures like Sylvester can thrive in a clean, healthy world.
Issues like environmentalism and global warming, much like birth control, are often considered controversial—although, if we’re honest, probably to a lesser degree. Surely, there are more people lobbying for us to take care of the Earth than there are people advocating for safe, healthy alternatives to contraception. And yet, shouldn’t these be the same people? My comment isn’t meant to condemn anyone, but merely to point out that there is a strong correlation between taking care of the environment and practicing natural family planning (NFP). “Natural” is in the name, after all.
There is no waste accumulated through the use of NFP. There are no drugs, medications, plastic containers, condoms, patches, sponges, gadgets—nothing to throw away; nothing to contribute to a landfill. Couples can even chart paper-free with the CycleProGo® app.
Forgoing commercial contraceptives can also reduce water pollution. Studies have shown that artificial hormones from the pill (particularly estrogen) make their way into our water supply. There are now 37 species of male fish found throughout the world that are developing eggs in their testes, becoming feminized. Scientists call these gender-confused fish “intersex.” Scientists have also observed intersex species in other aquatic wildlife such as alligators, turtles and frogs. In addition to reproductive failure in these species, low levels of immunity are also associated with exposure to high levels of estrogen. Scarier still is that some scientists believe that exposure to these hormones in our water supply could also be contributing to low sperm counts in human males. Read more here.
There are a lot of good reasons to practice NFP, and its benefits for the Earth—our common home, as Pope Francis would say—are no less important. Maybe for some folks this is a whole new prism through which to view NFP. CCL was founded as a Catholic organization, so naturally (there’s that word again) we like to share our spiritual and philosophical reasons for practicing NFP, but we recognize there are a lot of other reasons couples might want to consider NFP too. I guess what I’m trying to say is, all are welcome at CCL! We want to build joyful marriages and a more beautiful world through NFP.
Happy Earth Day!
— Sarah Drew