Towards a Sustainable Use of our Common Home, Mother Earth
Over the last few days we have seen numerous headlines on Pope Francis’ encyclical (one the most authoritative papal documents). Why did it have such wide repercussion in the media? Mostly because it was the first ever entirely devoted to ecological matters, addressed to every person on the planet (instead of just to the catholic community at large), and based on scientific studies (instead of only on theological documents).
Now, how did caring for Mother Earth become such an important religious matter? Because protecting Mother Earth is essential not only for the physical survival of all human beings, but also for our own spiritual welfare.
The document is named after and inspired by a canticle written by Saint Francis of Assisi (also known as the Ascended Master Kuthumi), whereby he reminds us that our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us.
“Praised be You my Lord through our Sister, Mother Earth
who sustains and governs us,
and who produces varied fruits with coloured flowers and herbs.”
The Pope adds that, “sister earth” is crying out, “pleading that we take another course” marked by healing and protecting her and all her inhabitants. He points out to the fact that “never have we so hurt and mistreated our common home as we have in the last 200 years.” Our generation is the first one in modern history with knowledge of the extent of the risks caused by our presence on the planet and, thus, faces an unprecedented challenge and responsibility, that of safeguarding continuity of human life on Earth.
The encyclical presents the vision of an “integral ecology” that highlights not only the interconnectedness of all created life, but recognizes how political, economic, social and religious values and decisions are interrelated and impact the way people live with one another on the planet and use its resources.
It calls for a rethinking of progress and for a radical transformation of politics, economics and individual lifestyles in order to tackle the planet’s most pressing ecological issues, from both human and natural perspectives, which include climate change, pollution, water scarcity, loss of biodiversity, and global inequality.
“Everything is related,” the Pope says, “and we human beings are united as brothers and sisters on a wonderful pilgrimage, woven together by the love God has for each of his creatures and which also unites us in fond affection with brother sun, sister moon, brother river and mother earth.” Once again paraphrasing Saint Francis.
Acknowledging the complexities of national and individual circumstances, he provides some suggestions on lines of approach and actions, among others:
1. Acknowledging current levels of consumption and combating corruption more effectively;
2. Progressively replacing technology based on the use of high-polluting fossil fuels;
3. Establishing political and institutional frameworks to impose obligations and prevent unacceptable actions, but also to promote best practice, to stimulate creativity in seeking new solutions and to encourage individual or group initiatives;
4. Making substantial improvements in public transportation;
5. Planning a diversified agriculture and the rotation of crops;
6. Touching the heart of those who look only for gains at the expense of the poor and the environment;
7. Turning off the lights, avoiding unnecessary waste, and recycling;
8. Reaching out through education to spur the knowledge and example on ways to change lifestyles; and
9. Believing that each one of us can make a difference, as we share a common responsibility for one another and the world we live in, and that being good and decent are worth it.
Pope Francis closes the document with two prayers: The first prayer includes asking God to “bring healing to our lives that we may protect the world and not prey on it, that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction.” The second prayer includes the petition, “O Lord, seize us with your power and light, help us to protect all life, to prepare for a better future, for the coming of your kingdom of justice, peace, love and beauty.”
Although some may not join together in prayer, many will hopefully agree that it is time for bold, radical action on the environment as well as poverty eradication. Hence, this is a timely and unprecedented initiative from a high moral and ethical global authority calling out to the whole world regardless of age, gender, faith, and origin to unite on a common goal, that of securing a sustainable usufruct of our common home. It is also a key milestone in what we are to see more and more in the coming years, public acknowledgement of the inherent interconnection between spirituality and science.
Clearly, a new level of thinking is unfolding as a result of the shifting process of our collective consciousness, which is paving the way to a significant transformational change in all aspects of our human lives. I feel extremely blessed and thrilled to witness this historic and unprecedented opportunity for humanity to come together, define and set foot on a pathway that will manifest the peace, prosperity and love we all envision for our beloved Nova Earth.
Welcome to the Anthropocene (a 3-minute video on how humanity grew into Earth’s single largest driving force of change):
Exercising our birthright to Sustainable Abundance. Namastê!