The church is called to take an active interest in issues that have arisen. To do this we must ask for God’s guidance through prayer and to take action both locally, nationally and on an individual level as well as through churches.
God created the earth and ‘saw that it was good.’ Humans were given dominion over that earth and to some degree have systematically destroyed it. In this way human beings have failed God’s call for them to become stewards of the earth.
This bad stewardship, chemically, biologically, and physically, has put the planet into a less stable condition than three hundred years ago. That being the case we ought to begin to address the problem and make the earth more environmentally sound.
The earth’s temperatures are gradually increasing due to the use of fossil fuels and other industrial processes. This is leading to a build up of “greenhouse gases”. It is important to remember that carbon dioxide helps to retain the sun’s infra red radiation from escaping into space. This helps to maintain the earth’s warm temperatures. However, what needs monitoring and controlling is the carbon dioxide levels in our atmosphere because elevated global temperatures can be a serious threat to the entire planet.
The level of man-made, compared with natural causes of carbon dioxide emissions, need urgent consideration because if we do not start to control them the effect will cause irreversible damage.
Our seas too are being polluted with disposed of effluents which are having an enormous effect on fish populations as well as possibly injurious consequences for human beings.
We have been responsible for helping to destroy God’s creation through greed based on a desire to pursue a policy of developing man-made devices for our own pecuniary benefit. Little account has been taken of the consequences.
“Today the subject of development is also closely related to the duties arising from our relationship to the natural environment. The environment is God’s gift to everyone, and in our use of it we have a responsibility towards the poor, towards future generations, and towards humanity as a whole,” says Pope Benedict in the encyclical Caritas in Veritate. Given it has been the wealthier countries that have done most to cause the ongoing destruction, they must take a greater share of the responsibility for resolving the problems.
The Church is being called to take an active interest in this important issue. What can we do? First of all we need to remember that it is God’s creation and so we should ask in prayer for God’s guidance. We are called to be active stewards of creation. This means engaging with the agenda to ensure that development serves the planet and not just the interests of big business.
There needs to be engagement at an individual level, recycling, reducing flying, using the car less and following the LOAF (local, organic, animal friendly and fairly traded) principles regarding the purchase of products. Maybe grow more of our own food. Live more simply.
At a structural level raise the issue of climate change with local and national politicians. Look at making your Church and town part of the transition movement initiatives. These aim to build resilience in the community toward a more sustainable way of life that is not oil dependent. Support climate change campaigns like those of CAFOD and the work of the Live Simply network. In this way a start can be made toward restoring the equilibrium of the earth.
Deacon Pat Taylor, St. Joseph’s Parish, Basingstoke
Back to: Catholic Social Teaching
Back to: Care for Creation