Rachel Myslivy holds a master's degree in Religious Studies and a graduate certificate in Environmental Studies. Her research focuses on the intersection of religion and ecology as seen in religious communities in Kansas. She is working to expand the scope of the Green Sisters in Kansas Oral History Project and eventually publish the collected stories. Myslivy is a program director for the Climate + Energy Project, co-founder of the Kansas Women’s Environmental Network, Green Team coordinator for St. John Catholic School, and a volunteer for the Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale. She lives with her family on a diversified farm in Jefferson County where they raise vegetables and fruits, sheep, chickens and bees with the goal of self-sufficiency. Rachel is the proud mother of two strong young women and is personally driven by the goal of leaving the world a better place for her daughters and all future generations.
Sometimes it feels like I am pushing an enormous rock uphill on ever-shifting ground. Just when it seems I’m making headway, something happens and I have to redirect my efforts. Working for social change is slow-going and often feels like you’re going backwards. It is important to take the long view.
“If I know so little about my family four generations ago, the assumption follows that in four generations, they will know little about me. It changes the way you think about your life.” On the first day of 2014, my dad made that comment in a casual discussion. I expect he was thinking more about wanting to be personally remembered by his descendants, but the comment resonated differently for me. Envisioning future generations dramatically reframes the question, “Is there life after death?”
Anyone who works for social change can tell you, it’s not an easy road. Like all grand-scale, emotionally and morally charged issues, environmental activism can be frustrating. Playing the blame game has been a primary tactic for many, including myself, in the environmental movement.
Over the course of two years, I had the great pleasure of interviewing more than 40 Catholic sisters on environmental issues. Interviews with these “green sisters” radically changed my conception of religious life and broadened my own understandings of environmental issues, peace, justice and Catholic theology.