CHICAGO, April 12, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The pro-life group CatholicVote.org says it’s time to use Earth Day to celebrate nature’s greatest gift – human life.

With bus ads starting today in Chicago and next week in San Francisco and Seattle, CatholicVote.org is encouraging Americans to rethink how they celebrate Earth Day, and how to go about building a culture that respects the environment.  This April 22nd will mark the 40th anniversary of Earth Day.

“Our goal is to use Earth Day to get Americans to think more deeply about what it means to truly respect the Earth and creation," said Brian Burch, President of CatholicVote.org Education Fund.

"Prevailing environmental attitudes too often view humans as the enemy of nature. We believe the human person is God’s greatest creation, and the Earth’s greatest resource. Building up a culture of life is the single most important way to build a culture that respects the environment."

Burch said that, in order to "bring this balanced Catholic view of the environment to the streets," the group purchased ads broadcasting their message on over 50 buses in Chicago, San Francisco, and Seattle.

“Respect for the God’s creation has a long history in Catholic teaching, long before it became popular with our secular culture,” said Burch.

Pope Benedict XVI has been very vocal in support of proper stewardship of natural resources. Newsweek even dubbed him “the green pope.”

Earlier this year, in his annual address to the Vatican diplomatic corps, Pope Benedict said: “If we wish to build true peace, how can we separate, or even set at odds, the protection of the environment and the protection of human life, including the life of the unborn?”

The pope has repeatedly emphasized that respect for the environment must be tied to a larger framework, with respect for the human person at its core.

In his recent encyclical, Pope Benedict XVI wrote: “If there is a lack of respect for the right to life and to a natural death, if human conception, gestation and birth are made artificial, if human embryos are sacrificed to research, the conscience of society ends up losing the concept of human ecology and, along with it, that of environmental ecology.

"It is contradictory to insist that future generations respect the natural environment when our educational systems and laws do not help them to respect themselves.”

The bus ads, which can be downloaded at CatholicVote.org, will run for four weeks.