persons, places and things: Celebrate ‘350 Day’


By Barb Arland-Fye

Sisters in our Davenport Diocese set an example in efforts to be good stewards of God’s creation.

So I was not surprised to learn from them about “350 Day,” an effort to take better care of our planet that kicks off with celebrations Oct. 24 on International Day of Climate Action.

This global day of action, coordinated by, urges world leaders to act now in addressing climate change and reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Currently, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is 390 parts per million; scientists say 350 parts per million is the most carbon dioxide we can safely have in the atmosphere.

Clinton-based Sisters of St. Francis and Davenport-based Congregation of the Humility of Mary are hosting special events for 350 Day, which comes six weeks before the United Nations Climate Summit in Copenhagen. Organizers of 350 Day events hope to encourage people during the six weeks leading up to the Dec. 7 summit to put pressure on decision makers to adopt a plan that moves toward the 350 goal.


Catholic Church leaders worldwide, including Pope Benedict XVI, have said it is imperative for the developed nations to curb the devastating excesses that have caused climate change and that show disrespect for the Earth and the poor and marginalized.

As part of their efforts, the Clinton Franciscans and their Clinton Franciscan Center for Active Nonviolence and Peacemaking are presenting a free workshop and concert Oct. 24. It features “Earth Mama,” a singer, songwriter and environmental speaker whose real name is Joyce Johnson Rouse. She will give a two-part presentation at Ashford University in Clinton.

She’ll also do workshops Oct. 23 for Prince of Peace schools in Clinton and perform that night at The Alverno Health Care Facility in Clinton.

Earth Mama uses music, humor and dance to raise awareness about ecology and the environment. Her one-woman “Think Outside the Barrel” workshop (1-4:30 p.m. Oct. 24) aims to encourage participants to reduce their ecological/ carbon footprint by using less of the world’s limited resources.

Also on hand will be local vendors of products designed to reduce our carbon footprint — a measure of the impact of our activities on the environment.  At 7:30 p.m., Earth Mama will present a concert “Helping Heal the Planet One Song at a Time.”

The Clinton Franciscans are presenting the program as an expression of their commitment to care for the Earth by practicing and promoting conservation and by working toward a sustainable way of living, says Sallyann McCarthy, the Clinton Franciscans’ communications director. For more information, call (563) 242-7611 or visit

And in Davenport, the Humility Sisters invite us to focus on creation and “Pray for 350” from 9-9:45 a.m. Oct. 24 in the Magnificat Chapel at the Humility of Mary Center. Participants will be joining more than 2,000 communities in over 150 countries as part of the global day of action, said Lisa Martin Bellomy, the Humility Sisters’ communications director.

Sister Johanna Rickl, the community’s vice president, said, “Our unity of spirit has its roots in the spirit of God. With God there is always a way to meet life’s challenges, to rise above what appear to be limiting circumstances.”

Sisters and guests will gather for a group 350 photo, which will be downloaded to the Web site. Images of the events from around the world, including the “Pray for 350” service in Davenport, will be featured on giant video screens in Times Square in New York as part of a 350 countdown.

The images will be accessible at as part of an online photo stream. Visual documentation will be delivered to the United Nations on Oct. 26.

Thanks to both the Clinton Franciscans and Sisters of Humility for doing their part to raise awareness about providing our planet with more TLC.

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