World Environment Day
On Christmas Eve, 1968, the astronauts of Apollo 8 did a live broadcast from lunar orbit. So Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, William Anders — the first humans to orbit the moon -– described what they saw, and they read Scripture from the Book of Genesis to the rest of us back here. And later that night, they took a photo that would change the way we see and think about our world.
It was an image of Earth -– beautiful; breathtaking; a glowing marble of blue oceans, and green forests, and brown mountains brushed with white clouds, rising over the surface of the moon.
And around the same time we began exploring space, scientists were studying changes taking place in the Earth’s atmosphere. In the late 1950s, the National Weather Service began measuring the levels of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, with the worry that rising levels might someday disrupt the fragile balance that makes our planet so hospitable. And what they’ve found, year after year, is that the levels of carbon pollution in our atmosphere have increased dramatically.
That science, accumulated and reviewed over decades, tells us that our planet is changing in ways that will have profound impacts on all of humankind. So the question now is whether we will have the courage to act before it’s too late. And how we answer will have a profound impact on the world that we leave behind…
“It makes you realize,” that astronaut said all those years ago, “just what you have back there on Earth.” And that image in the photograph, that bright blue ball rising over the moon’s surface, containing everything we hold dear — the laughter of children, a quiet sunset, all the hopes and dreams of posterity — that’s what’s at stake. That’s what we’re fighting for. And if we remember that, I’m absolutely sure we’ll succeed.
For all whose personal and organizational efforts help to renew our Earth,
We are grateful.
Become familiar with the information that is available concerning the effects of human activity on climate change. What can you change in your own life? Use the Prayer for World Environment Day available at the link below. If possible, gather a group to join with you.
The land must not be sold permanently, because the land is mine and you are but aliens and my tenants. Throughout the country that you hold as a possession, you must provide for the redemption of the land.
The earth dries up and withers, the world languishes and withers, the exalted of the earth languish. The earth is defiled by its people; they have disobeyed the laws, violated the statutes and broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore a curse consumes the earth; its people must bear their guilt. Therefore earth’s inhabitants are burned up, and very few are left.
St. Francis of Assisi “teaches us profound respect for the whole of creation and the protection of our environment, which all too often, instead of using for the good, we exploit greedily, to one another’s detriment.”
As human beings, we are vulnerable to confusing the unprecedented with the improbable. In our everyday experience, if something has never happened before, we are generally safe in assuming it is not going to happen in the future, but the exceptions can kill you and climate change is one of those exceptions.
Climate change is happening, humans are causing it, and I think this is perhaps the most serious environmental issue facing us.
One of the big questions in the climate change debate: Are humans any smarter than frogs in a pot? If you put a frog in a pot and slowly turn up the heat, it won’t jump out. Instead, it will enjoy the nice warm bath until it is cooked to death. We humans seem to be doing pretty much the same thing.
With so much evidence of depleting natural resources, toxic waste, climate change, irreparable harm to our food chain and rapidly increasing instances of natural disasters, why do we keep perpetuating the problem? Why do we continue marching at the same alarming beat?
The biggest barrier to dealing with climate change is us: our own attachment to habits that are hard to shift, and our great ability to park or ignore uncomfortable choices.