Sisters of St. Joseph of CarondeletOctober 20, 2019

Earth Concerns News

Earth Charter, Principle 2 by Sister Mary Ellen Curtin, CSJ

Ecological Integrity


The beginning of the preamble of the Earth Charter reads: AWe stand at a critical moment in Earth=s history, a time when humanity must choose its future.@

There is a great sense of urgency in this statement. It is the same sense of urgency I had at our congregational chapter last summer, and it is reflected in our vision statement and each of the acts of chapter: AUrgency to respond to the groaning of a disconnected world fills us.@ AThe sacredness of all of life and creation motivates our urgent concern for Earth and the survival of its life systems.@


The whole of humanity is in a defining hour, an hour in which we have never been before. Under the second principle, Ecological Integrity, we read: AProtect and restore the integrity of Earth=s ecological systems, with a special concern for biological diversity and the natural processes that sustain life.@


How do we respond with the urgency needed to ensure that the planet=s magnificent ecological systems and biological diversity be preserved? It seems overwhelming, and we are tempted to feel we can=t do anything that will be significant enough to make a difference.

But that is not the truth! Each of us has a responsibility to respond in some small way. It is through the effort of each and every one of us that attitudes of mind and heart will change. Because it is a matter of the heart; it is a matter of transformation in how I view the world. The key is communion and seeing all species and peoples as interdependent and interconnected. Everything we do affects the whole.

As long as we see the world as disconnected and separate entities and place a hierarchical value on each one, then we continue to use and abuse what we consider the least and lowly, whether it is natural resources, animals or people.

Recently I opened an e-mail from Barbara Marx Hubbard=s (Conscious Evolution) website to read: AWe have passed the tipping point.@ Scientists are now giving us two to four years to make a dramatic change in use of fossil fuels and to counter global warming. This prognosis is truly alarming! The good news is that thousands of people from all over the world are waking up and beginning to live with a different value system and lessening their consumption of resources. This is what is needed.

There is now a global call to action. Jim Garrison, of the Cultural Creatives, has called for mobilizing a global campaign to demand our government at the inauguration of our new president to support Al Gore=s proposal to supply 100 percent of our electricity from renewable energy sources within ten years. ( He and others feel it is imperative that the US be on the forefront to produce renewable energy sources and partner with other groups and leaders worldwide to do the same.

This past year the US Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph and Associates, the Leadership Conference on Women Religious, the Union of Concerned Scientists and many more groups are calling for initiatives to put global warming and environmental concerns at the forefront of our awareness and action.

Already poorer nations and many species are suffering from the results of global warming: earlier seasons, reduced habitat, drought, less fresh water, warmer sea-water temperatures that create more violent storms, hurricanes and flooding. Already there are thousands of environmental refugees who have had to leave their homes because of disastrous storms. Already thousands of species are endangered for extinction.

One wonderful aspect of humanity is our drive to be creative, our love of a challenge and our intellectual and artistic capabilities. We have what is needed to halt global warming and in the process become a global community which values ecological integrity, biodiversity and use of resources. All we need is the political will to do it.

In the past few years since the movie, The Inconvenient Truth, gave us a visual of our reality, we have begun to make necessary changes to reduce carbon emissions, but much more is needed. (If you haven=t seen this film, it is very worthwhile.) In the end it will be our love for this planet with all its biodiversity and our compassion for the suffering that will motivate us to change.

This is a great moment of grace. The evolutionary process is evoking each of us to change our consciousness and the way we live upon our planet, to care for it and, in our own unique way, to work together to come to a deeper sense of how we can effect change. We can no longer live as we have in the past. We need to return to reverence, awe and wonder for the natural world and to know that we are a part of it. We need to live with a greater consciousness of the whole community of life.

The Home/Land Committee has given us countless ways of conserving and living with greater awareness of our environment. Each of us can do something to respond to the 2007 Act of Chapter which calls us to make radical choices in the use of Earth=s resources.


(September 2008)