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Jesus cleanses

the temple 

My Zero Waste Story of overturning tables


I started thinking about going zero waste when I read Pope Francis' Encyclical Laudato Si. Every part of the document, every word, captured me. It called me to change and the Holy Spirit started moving within me. For the 3 years after I read the document until early 2018, I started changing my culture in little ways. I did a fair trade Christmas. I built up a glory box for when I moved out that would help me live sustainably.


Just before Lent in 2018, I was driving home from mass, and I was angry that the world was the way it was. But I thought, I can't expect others to change around me, if I don't change myself. So I asked God what I had to change, and it was clear to me that I had to go zero waste. 


I researched 40 things to change for Lent and decided that every day of Lent I would try something different. Throughout Lent the 40 changes turned into over 100. These were many challenges. I knew that it wouldn't happen overnight and that the change would have to be considered and gradual. Lent was perfect to bring about my change to my 'throwaway culture'.


I had some really bad days (I still do) but one particular passage from the Gospels spoke to me during these terrible days.

Mark 11:15-18. Then they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who were selling and who were buying in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves, and he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple. He was teaching and saying, 'It is not written, "my house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations"? But you have made it a den of robbers.' And when the chief priests and the scribes heard it, they kept looking for a way to kill him; for they were afraid of him, because the whole crowd was spellbound by his teaching.


I felt as though in this passage Jesus was calling for the cultural change that Pope Francis is calling us to. Lent for me was a time where Jesus overturned the throwaway culture of my life and made me start again. I came to the realisation that every decision that I made, somehow impacted the environment. Now every time I make a decision, I think about the impact that decision will have and choose accordingly. 


This website, Overturnthetables, is inspired by the story of Jesus cleansing the temple. I hope will provide you with some insight into how you can become an ecological convert and live out Laudato Si. 

I would also like to acknowledge and pay my respects to the First Nations people of Australia. To the elders past, present, and emerging of the Yuggembah speaking peoples who always have and always will be the sovereign owners of this land. 




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