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Let’s Celebrate Earth Day, 22 April 2015

 

Intrinsic connection between care for the environment and care for the poor
Photo for Earth Day 2015“It’s what we have when we have nothing that defines our relation to nature and the effect of nature on the soul. Then we begin to realise that we do not exist outside of nature or above nature or independent of nature; we are simply its most vulnerable part.
What we learn from nature may make the whole difference in the way we go through life and what we want from it, and what we consider important in it, and- most of all- what we are capable of learning by being alive.” Sr. Joan Chittister, OSB. Becoming Fully Human; The Greatest Glory of God. 2005
2015 marks the 45th anniversary of Earth Day, which was founded in 1970. In terms of care for the earth and environmental awareness, we like to think that we have come a long way since the 1970s but in light of Pope Francis’ statement, January ‘’It is man [sic] who has slapped nature in the face, ’’ there is still a long road ahead as we try to honour our obligations to care for the world we all live in and share.
Ms. Gina McCarthy, head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, stated at her meeting with Pope Francis in late January,  “…It’s important to have Pope Francis continue to speak as clearly as he can because there are millions if not billions of people at risk here who the Catholic church and other faiths have been focused on for many, many years and it’s those individuals that we need to speak for, and to help.’’
Pope Francis, who took his name from St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of the environment- has made care for the environment another hallmark of his papacy.  It is expected that the Vatican will issue an Encyclical on the environment in July, 2015.  believing that ‘’A Christian who does not protect creation, who does not let it grow, is a Christian who does not care about the work of God; that work that was born from the love of God for us…and this is the first response to the first creation: protect creation, make it grow.’’ (Pope Francis, 9th February, 2015).
Second Photo for Earth Day 2015RENATE believes that our failure to respect the Earth is linked with consumerism, greed, conflicts which lead to the annihilation of the dignity of the human person – all of which contribute to human trafficking and the exploitation of persons.
For more information, please see:
’Protect the Earth, Dignify Humanity: The Moral Dimensions of Climate Change & Sustainable Development, ’’ summit to be held on the 28th April, 2015 at Casina Pio IV, Vatican City, Rome.
www.pas.va (Pontifical Academy of Sciences) & www.pass.va (Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences).
www.earthday.org/2015
 
Prepared by Anne Kelleher
RENATE Communications Person