With a love of lakes and self described passion for all creation, FAN Board Member Sr. Damien Marie Savino, F.S.E., Ph.D. serves as Dean of Science and Sustainability at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, MI. Her childhood love of nature and the outdoors “opened up in me the desire to protect the beauty and diversity of the natural world. It also led me to questions about who is the author of this beautiful nature, which ultimately led me to my vocation as a Franciscan Sister of the Eucharist.”
In this Catholic Information Center “Gallagher Talk” from 2020, Sr. Damien Marie defines the issue of environmental racism–disproportionate effects of pollution and environmental degradation on people of certain races–and shows scientific proof of its seriousness, particularly in the state of Michigan where she lives. She goes over the principle of integral ecology from Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical Laudato Si’ and offers practical suggestions for what can be done at the local level, rooted in the Catholic Social Teaching principle of subsidiarity. She suggests direct engagement with affected communities to be sure that efforts to address problems are appropriate.