Laudato Si, mi Signore’
Churches overall have a good record of speaking out on social justice issues, but without paying much attention to environment issues. Thanks to the interest of our former Minister, Rinny, who presented me with a copy of Encyclical Letters from Pope Francis on Care for our Common Home I was able to change my view., It made me aware of the Pontiff’s deep-held belief and understanding of the consequences of human neglect of our natural environment in defiance of God’s intent. The effects in terms of human misery are increasingly being felt and will gain momentum as we continue to rely on traditional sources of energy regardless of the noticeable degradation of land and air, the very elements of sustainability of all living species, fauna and flora. This was vividly brought home to me on a week-long visit to Townsville in tropical Queensland. On the flight to Australia we met a geophysicist from Perth working as a consultant in our Gisborne region in search of oil deposits as part of our government’s quest for new energy sources. On our arrival at our destination we received the news of the approval of a gigantic coal mine in the north of the state with exclusive output for and export to India through the port of Townsville, which already serves as a loading facility of daily arriving ore carrying trains. During our travels we noticed isolated evidence of the continuing air polluting practice of burning cane fields prior to harvesting. While large tracts of pastoral farming are experiencing a devastating drought, scarce water resources are diverted to the cane fields.
Sustainability is the current catch cry, but seen in the context of constant change, sounds unconvincing. According to recent statistics it is also harder for industry organisations to survive. While the average age of S&P reported corporations in 1930 was 90 years, it declined to 61 years in 1958 and stood at 18 years in 2012, when the last count was taken. However, God willing, there is hope for salvation. A revealing article in the current weekly issue of Time magazine mentions several projects in different parts of the Western World that are quietly working away on rebooting the quest for clean energy with promising developments in hydrogen fusion. If and when successful, they will provide an energy source so cheap, clean and plentiful that would leave no human endeavour unaffected. It would end the reliance on fossil fuels once and for all and be the antidote to climate change that we so desperately need. I see in this God’s late moment intervention and serving the dual purpose of making humanity aware of its folly and vulnerability and reminding us of the Creators omnipotence.
I recommend the book Laudato Si’ as serious, informative and educational, and conclude with its title Praise be to you my Lord.