In Laudato Si, Pope Francis asserts that a truly ecological approach is also inherently social. “When nature is viewed solely as a source of profit and gain, this has serious consequences for society. This… has engendered immense inequality, injustice and acts of violence against the majority of humanity, since resources end up in the hands of the first comer or the most powerful: the winner takes all.”
Completely at odds with this model are the ideals of harmony, justice, fraternity and peace as proposed by the gospel of Jesus. “It is an approach that simultaneously hears the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.” “A sense of deep communion with the rest of nature cannot be real if our hearts lack tenderness, compassion and concern for our fellow human beings.”
May we grow in selflessness and compassion.
For decent people justice and compassion go beyond politics. Where do you see the truth of the Pope’s analysis? How can each of us change in order to bring about a more just, nonviolent, and equitable society? What specifically can you do?
I know that the Lord will maintain the cause of the afflicted, and will execute justice for the needy.
But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?
1 John 3:17-18
We are faced not with two separate crises, one environmental and the other social, but rather with one complex crisis which is both social and environmental. Strategies for a solution demand an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the excluded, and at the same time protecting nature.
We have to realize that a true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.
Many of the poor live in areas particularly affected by phenomena related to warming, and their means of subsistence are largely dependent on natural reserves and ecosystemic services such as agriculture, fishing and forestry.
In polarity, there is extreme poverty and extreme wealth. Bridge the gap between the two and you will find balance and an earth that will survive the threat of humanity’s self-imposed climate change. Earth is a reflection of humanity.
Declare war on poverty, not the poor.
Poverty creates cruelty and suffering for humans, animals and the environment. We must address it to save our world.
Without an informed electorate, politicians will continue to use the bottom billion merely for photo opportunities, rather than promoting real transformation.