Sr Fuleswari Flora Kujur FMA
The earth is what we share as our common home, property, assets, source of life and means of survival exists on our mother earth, gifted freely by the Almighty God. Safety, wellbeing, development and progress are impossible without change, and those who can’t change their minds can’t see change.
“What is the use of a fine house if you haven’t got a tolerable planet to put it on,” says Henry David Thoreau. Many intensive forms of environmental exploitation and degradation exhaust resources that provide local communities with their livelihood and undo the social structure that shape cultural identity and their sense of the meaning of life and community for a long time. The disappearance of a culture can be just a severe problem in the days to come or even more serious than the disappearance of a plant or animal species. The imposition of a dominant lifestyle of men linked to a single form of production can be just as harmful as altering the ecosystem.
The interrelationship between living space and human behaviour, those who design buildings, public spaces and cities, ought to draw on the various disciplines which help us understand people’s thought processes, symbolic language and ways of acting. This Mother earth now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her for our benefit. We have come to see ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled to plunder her at will.
The violence present in our hearts, wounded by sin, is also reflected in the symptoms of sickness evident in the soil, in the water, in the air and all forms of life. “This is why the earth herself, burdened and laid waste, is among the most abandoned and maltreated of our poor; ‘she groans in travail’ (Scripture, Rom 8:22). We have forgotten that we are the dust of the earth (cf. Gen 2:7); our very bodies are made up of her elements, we breathe her air and we receive life and refreshment from her waters”. Pope Francis says, “If we destroy nature, nature will destroy us.”
“The urgent challenge to protect our common home includes a concern to bring the whole human family together to seek a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change.” It is an urgent appeal to all then for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet. We need a conversation that includes everyone since the environment challenges everyone. Pollution and climate change, water, loss of biodiversity, the decline in the quality of human life and the breakdown of society, global inequality. The message of each creature is the harmony of creation : a universal communion, the common destination of goods. We need to strengthen the conviction that we are one single human family.
There are no frontiers or barriers, political or social, behind which we can hide. Still, less there is room for the globalization of indifference. Young people have a new ecological sensitivity and a generous spirit, and some of them are making admirable efforts to protect the environment. Environmental Education also seeks to restore the various levels of ecological equilibrium, establishing harmony within us, with others, with nature and other living creatures, and with God. Environmental education should facilitate leaping the transcendent, which gives ecological ethics its most profound meaning. It needs educators capable of developing an ethics of ecology and helping people, through effective pedagogy, to grow in solidarity, responsibility and compassionate care. The environment is part of the logic of receptivity. It is on loan to each generation, which must then hand it on to the next generation and discuss the issues. Make changes in the way we live – model a responsible way of life. None of us can do all the things, but all of us can do something. I love my Mother Earth. I esteem Nature as God’s gift; I believe it is a precious wealth to be shared by all.
Therefore, let us pledge to co-create a common home with our family, friends and neighbours; by keeping our houses/Schools/Colleges and surroundings clean. I will save water, energy and natural resources for our future generation. I will reduce, reuse, recycle all wastes and use only eco-friendly materials. I will plant saplings and nurture them. I resolve to be clean, green and plastic-free. When nature is viewed solely as a service of profit and gain, this has serious consequences for society. Authentic development includes efforts to bring about a necessary improvement in human life quality, which entails considering the setting in which people live together. The settings influence the way we think, feel and act. In our homes, workplaces, and neighbourhoods, we use our environment to express our identity. We make every effort to adapt to our environment. Still, when it is disorderly, chaotic, or saturated with noise and ugliness, such over stimulation makes it difficult to find ourselves integrated and happy.
World Environment Day on June 5, 2021, will be celebrated across the world. The theme of World Environment Day this year is ‘Ecosystem Restoration.’ Ecosystem Restoration denotes assisting in the recovery of ecosystems that human activities like pollution and deforestation have degraded. Ecosystem Restoration can also be promoted by conserving the ecosystems that are still intact. Healthy ecosystem and rich biodiversity yield more incredible benefits such as more fertile soils, bigger yields of fish and timber and safety and a healthy environment to live in our common home.
The writer is Vice Principal, Don Bosco College (Autonomous)Maram, Senapati, Manipur and can be reached at [email protected]