Sisters of St. Joseph of CarondeletOctober 17, 2017

Earth Concerns News

Earth Charter, Principle 1: Respect and Care for the Community of Life by Sister Irene Kruse, CSJ


Care for the community of life with understanding, compassion and love.

As we know from the Old Testament, God, in creating humankind, gave us dominion over creation and all its creatures. However, this dominion did not give us license to use and dominate without a sense of responsibility and sensitivity to any consequences of our use or misuse of them.
 
a. Accept that with the right to own, manage and use natural resources comes the duty to prevent environmental harm and to protect the rights of people.
 
Our use or misuse of the resources of our planet has repercussions not only for our own generation, but also for "seventh-generation sustainability," the idea that decisions should be considered for their impact on the seventh generation to come inspired by the law of the Iroquois. Chief Seattle, a Suquamish leader, advised in his famous treaty speech December of 1854, AMan did not weave the web of life; he is merely a strand in it. What he does to the web, he does to himself. So, by the selfish use of power as the apex of creation, is humankind really committing suicide and selfishly taking the future generations along with them? With all our technology at hand, surely we should be able to stem the harm that some of it is doing to our Mother Earth. 
 
 b. Affirm that with increased freedom, knowledge and power comes increased responsibility to promote the common good.
 
I think Mother Earth is trying to give her residents a wake-up call. Just look at our daily news reports on the shifts in climate patterns, precipitation, earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes, plus the global-warming problem. Nature's upheavals have been occurring more frequently and in places where they had been previously unknown. It's as though she's having a gastrointestinal attack! "Get a life!" "Get real!" she screams, at her indifferent children. "Look what bounties I have given you! Are you going to throw them recklessly away?"
 
What can "little ole me" do? Someone once said, "Everyone is trying to accomplish something big, not realizing that life is made up of little things." In our daily living, we can do small but effective things to help salve the wounds that our carelessness has caused. I'm sure you have heard the following suggestions among others: modify use of electricity, water and paper; make organic choices when purchasing food items. I provide here a heads-up on a Home/Land Survey to be distributed at the Spring Forum that will provide a focus on ways we can personally be effective stewards of our environment and promote the common good. A thoughtful reading can give us ideas.
 
We must remember that not only is Earth our only home, it is also a holy sanctuary where we encounter the Divine. Teilhard de Chardin observed, "Whoever will passionately love Jesus in the forces that exalt the Earth, him will the Earth maternally lift up in her giant arms, and she will cause him to contemplate the face of God." Profaning this sanctuary by our poor stewardship is not an option!
 
(February 2008)