In Harmony with Creation: Religious Perspectives on Sustainability
In the quiet whispers of ancient forests and the gentle lapping of ocean waves, there exists a profound story—a story of Christ and His Creation, interconnectedness, and the bond between humanity and the environment.
Joe Meyer is an individual who embodies these characteristics and has worked diligently to show others how to be hopeful for the future and the environment. Meyer is a Biology and Environmental Science teacher at Marquette University High School. Meyer has been awarded the 2023, BizTimes Notable Leader in Sustainability in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. An award that showcases his demonstrated excellence in the area of sustainability and the ability to effect change. How did Meyer become a success in the sustainability world? Let’s take a dive into recognizing the hard work and dedication of his journey so far.
Years ago, Meyer attended an employee retreat where he felt an intense desire to do something more with his knowledge and after this hallelujah moment with Christ, his first reaction was, “I didn’t even know what that meant, but God eventually unfolded those pieces for me.” Meyer found that there is dignity in caring for the environment through embarking on a journey to better connect people with their faith and to foster a stewardship ethic to care for it. Meyer started his journey by teaching in National Parks and environmental education centers across the country striving to connect people with the natural world around them. He refused to compromise on the environmental and faith aspects of his journey, but it was difficult to get people involved in societal well-being over prioritizing personal prosperity.
So, how do you get people to care? Meyer found a way to do that by teaching people why we’re here and to appreciate what we have. As the Executive Director of the Catholic Ecology Center and the Laudato Si’ Project which began in 2016, Meyer began understanding the pieces of the puzzle. By responding to Pope Francis’s encyclical, Laudato Si’- On Care for Our Common Home, the mission of the Catholic Ecology Center is to deepen faith and foster a
stewardship ethic, through hands-on encounters with the natural world. After that project began, Meyer began to explore other options for enlarged spaces. That’s when he met Dave Fulcher, CEO of Milwaukee Catholic Home, who was attending an event to learn more about the Laudato Si’ Project. When they connected their common organizational interests and overall mission statements, realizing it was a complete
intersection of goals. Today, that common vision has been realized on over 60 acres of land situated in Neosho Wisconsin.
As we reflect on his achievements, we are reminded that the path to a greener and more equitable world is paved with dedication, courage, and relentless pursuit of positive change with Faith. Joe Meyer has left an indelible mark on the landscape of sustainability and shares a bode of confidence with us all by saying, “Start small, don’t be afraid to fail, and do not be afraid to start.” Everyone has the potential to lead and drive meaningful progress towards a more sustainable and harmonious planet.