“The Lord spoke his word to me, saying:
Before I made you in your Mother’s womb, I chose you.
Before you were born, I set you apart for a special work.
I appointed you as a Prophet to the Nations.”
Dear Friends in Christ,
My name is Kristen Hayes-Yearick, I am a Pro-Life, Catholic, Mother of three beautiful children and a children’s environmental health advocate. As a Pro-Life Woman, I believe in the sanctity of ALL life. As a Catholic, I believe that we have a moral obligation to protect God’s children and creation. As a Mother, I can’t silently watch our most vulnerable population, our born and unborn children, losing or fighting for their lives.
I’m writing to request an organized and unified “Call to Action” from the leaders of the Catholic Church, Catholic organizations and Pro-Life organizations to publicly broaden the definition of the Pro-Life movement to include environmental degradation and the toxic exposures and that are taking and threatening our born and unborn children’s lives. The toxic exposures are directly linked to many life ending, life threatening or life altering diseases in our children. The statistics and studies on environmental triggers to childhood illnesses available to us today are overwhelming. Our youngest generation is the unhealthiest in history. Our children are the first generation expected to not live as long as their parents lived. Our children are the first generation raised on Genetically Modified foods, milk and possibly animals. Our children are exposed to more toxins in their day to day lives than any other generation before them.
The warning signs are present in God’s creatures. There are increased reports of mass fish and bird kills. Intersex fish are showing up in rivers in Pennsylvania, around the Nation and the world. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) issues a “Fish Consumption Public Health Advisory” In the 2011 Public Health Advisory, the DEP states, “Long lasting contaminants such as PCBs, chlordane, and mercury build up in your body over time. It may take months or years of regularly eating contaminated fish to build up amounts that are a health concern. Health problems that may result from the contaminants found in fish range from small changes in health that are hard to detect to birth defects and cancer. Mothers who eat highly contaminated fish for many years before becoming pregnant may have children who are slower to develop and learn. The meal advice in this advisory is intended to protect children from these potential developmental problems.” We’ve heard reports of wildlife with lesions and abscesses on their bodies, in their brains and their organs and yet--we do nothing.
Highlights from the information that I’ve included in the attachment:
-1 in 3 American children have Allergies, Asthma, ADHD or Autism
-CDC reports that childhood cancer incidence continues to rise
-Girls are entering puberty years before previous generations-breast development beginning at the age of 7: increasing their risk for reproductive and breast cancers.
- Male infertility appears to be on the rise, and studies suggest that more boys are being born with genital malformations.
-Chronic Childhood illness statistics continue to rise.
In his 1990 World Day of Peace message, Blessed Pope John Paul II issued a Call to Action for all Catholics, “The most profound and serious indication of the moral implications underlying the ecological problem is the lack of respect for life evident in many of the patterns of environmental pollution. Often, the interests of production prevail over concern for the dignity of workers, while economic interests take priority over the good of individuals and even entire peoples. In these cases, pollution or environmental destruction is the result of an unnatural and reductionist vision which at times leads to a genuine contempt for man.
At the conclusion of this Message, I should like to address directly my brothers and sisters in the Catholic Church, in order to remind them of their serious obligation to care for all of creation. The commitment of believers to a healthy environment for everyone stems directly from their belief in God the Creator, from their recognition of the effects of original and personal sin, and from the certainty of having been redeemed by Christ. Respect for life and for the dignity of the human person extends also to the rest of creation, which is called to join man in praising God (cf. Ps 148:96)..”
It is 2011, twenty one years after Blessed Pope John Paul II “Call to Action” message- what bold steps have we taken as a unified church to answer not only Pope John Paul II call, but God’s call to action? How many Catholics are aware of the position of the church on environmental illnesses and creation care? I recognize that there are wonderful and committed organizations within the church that dedicate their lives to protecting God’s creation and his children, but we need the entire church standing together and showing our strong commitment to protecting the sanctity of all life. It’s time for us to lead by example, God’s example.
In Pope Benedict XVI recent Call to Action he stated: “By acting now, in the spirit of common but differentiated responsibility, we accept our duty to one another and to the stewardship of a planet blessed with the gift of life. We are committed to ensuring that all inhabitants of this planet receive their daily bread, fresh air to breathe and clean water to drink as we are aware that, if we want justice and peace, we must protect the habitat that sustains us. The believers among us ask God to grant us this wish.”
Pope Benedict XVI goes on to say, “Twenty years ago, Pope John Paul II devoted his Message for the World Day of Peace to the theme: Peace with God the Creator, Peace with All of Creation. He emphasized our relationship, as God’s creatures, with the universe all around us. “In our day”, he wrote, “there is a growing awareness that world peace is threatened … also by a lack of due respect for nature”. He added that “ecological awareness, rather than being downplayed, needs to be helped to develop and mature, and find fitting expression in concrete programmes and initiatives”
Previous Popes had spoken of the relationship between human beings and the environment. In 1971, for example, on the eightieth anniversary of Leo XIII’s Encyclical Rerum Novarum, Paul VI pointed out that “by an ill-considered exploitation of nature (man) risks destroying it and becoming in his turn the victim of this degradation”. He added that“not only is the material environment becoming a permanent menace – pollution and refuse, new illnesses and absolute destructive capacity – but the human framework is no longer under man’s control, thus creating an environment for tomorrow which may well be intolerable. This is a wide-ranging social problem which concerns the entire human family”
This daily barrage of chemicals makes individual awareness and good choices imperative. We can choose which foods, cosmetics, cleaning and household supplies we allow into our homes. However, there is an enormous difference between making bad choices for ourselves and the choices that are being made for us. How can we protect our children? These little ones are not little Democrats or little Republicans, they are children who are utterly dependant on us to make the right decisions for their future. How can Mothers protect their children, if they don’t know their children need protecting? The era of apathy and complacency has ended. We must reclaim our position as stewards of God’s creation, to unite, to build bridges, to focus on our similarities instead of our differences. God is calling his church to reclaim his creation and protect his most precious creations, his children. The time is now!
I have met with a Pennsylvania State Representative about possible Pesticide legislation. I am meeting with another Pennsylvania State Representative about possible Pesticide legislation in July. I am actively reaching out to our elected officials to lobby for protection of our God given natural resources that are necessary for life. (air, water, soil and food)
Our goals should be simple--I humbly request that:
-We organize Archdiocese Children’s Environmental Health-Creation Care Councils
-We organize Diocesan Creation Care Councils
-We have our Priests, Religious women, Religious men and the Laity connect with environmentalists within their congregations.
-We establish Children’s Environmental Health/Creation Care groups to educate our congregations about the environmental threats facing our children and communities today.
-We Incorporate Creation Care and Children’s Environmental Health issues into the Homily at masses at least six times a year.
-We organize Children’s Environmental Health/Creation Care rally’s/walks/conferences/fairs to bring much needed attention to the issues. (Could we choose Blessed John Paul II's feast day, October 22nd, to honor his commitment to protecting and defending the Sanctity of all life)
-We incorporate Creation Care into our Catholic Schools
-We establish Creation Care (Environmental) groups/clubs at our Catholic Schools.
-We hold Politicians accountable that go against the teachings of the church. (Pro-Abortion, Pro-Euthanasia, Pro-Capital Punishment and Pro-Industry Deregulation/Pollution) Contact Politicians, as a unified voice, to visibly show where the unified church stands on the particular issue.
-We need to research, recognize and acknowledge the roll that Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals and Genetically Modified foods play in fertility, conception, implantation and pregnancy loss.
-We need to research, recognize and acknowledge the roll that High-Volume Slick Water Hydraulic Fracturing (fracking) plays in contaminating water, air, soil and food. This is a common global threat to humanity.
We need to research, recognize and acknowledge the roll that pesticides, herbicides and fungicides play in childhood diseases-- cancers, Autism, ADHD and Birth Defects. ( to name a few)
I would like to take this opportunity to thank each of you for your time and consideration. I have included our story on pages 69-76. After my family was repeatedly exposed to an Organophosphate Pesticide, Dimethoate 4EC, that killed our 90lb Golden Retriever and caused profound health issues in my family, I was lost, angry, confused and afraid of the unknown. I wasn’t prepared for that situation. I wasn’t prepared for my son to stop talking. I wasn’t prepared for the light going out in my sweet boys eyes. I wasn’t prepared for him to be diagnosed with PDD-NOS. I wasn’t prepared for daughter to develop Raynaud’s Disease, cysts in her thyroid and chest pain. I wasn’t prepared for any of the health issues that appeared. On my journey, I have found where my faith and science come together--as one. I have spent the past six years battling health insurance companies, trying to open the minds of our Physicians in reference to pesticide and chemically induced illnesses in children and adults, researching pesticides, studying policies and raising awareness. I have prayed long and hard asking God to show me his will. What did he want me to do with our experience, the research, studies and statistics? I prayed for Blessed John Paul II to intercede on behalf of our children asking God to direct me according to his will. This collection of resources, studies, articles and stories have been invaluable on my investigative journey from our past, to the present and as a window into our future. I took the time to highlight sections of the studies, articles and resources to make it easier for each of you to glance over it. I know that I have included a lot of information, but it’s only a raindrop in an ocean of issues plaguing the world. I hope that you’ll take the time to look over the overwhelming evidence to the gravity and urgency of the issues that human beings and all of God’s creations are facing today, tomorrow and in the future.
May God Bless each of you,