Let's take care of our mother earth
"Our sister, mother earth"
The Anglican Archbishop Thabo Makgoba (Cape Town) reacted as one of the first religious leaders of another denomination to the encyclical of Pope Francis, which calls for discussion with other religions and all people to solve the social and ecological crisis.
Germanwatch documents excerpts in its own translation.
“In Africa and other developing countries, we are already suffering from the effects of climate change, and the people hardest hit by severe droughts or storms are in our most vulnerable communities.
In our own church province in southern Africa, the people of Mozambique were recently hit by a flood. In Namibia, a drought has driven the livestock industry - from which seven out of ten Namibians earn their livelihood - to declare a state of emergency. The government is pushing farmers to sell their cattle. (...)
At a recent consultation with the bishops of the most vulnerable countries in the world, we heard of changes in the seasons, rising sea levels, sea acidification, exhausted fishing grounds and climate refugees (...).
Regardless of political, economic, social and scientific considerations, as people of faith we must focus on the moral and spiritual elements of the crisis. Secular and religious concerns are not mutually exclusive. "
The values of dignity and justice are at the center of the response to the crisis. How we take care of the environment is essential for the appreciation of our fellow human beings.
Then there is the question of how we value the rest of God's creation and deal with the resources that God has entrusted to us. Pope Francis brings back memories when he quotes Francis of Assisi communicating with all of creation, even preaching to flowers, and referring to our planet in addressing the Lord as' our sister, mother earth who carries us and directs ... '
In particular, I applaud the way Pope Francis highlights the focus placed by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on the 'ethical and spiritual roots of environmental problems'. This presupposes that we 'look for solutions not only in technology, but also in a change in humanity (...)'.
With reference to the high consumption, greed and waste in our world - which we see in both developed and developing countries - the encyclical makes it clear that we have to get used to simpler and healthier lifestyles. "
If, in response to the current crisis, we take appropriate action to address the problem, it could not only improve our spiritual life - whether we are materially poor or rich - but also include many practical benefits for the poorest in developing countries.
I join forces with ex-UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in calling on political leaders to show the same moral and ethical leadership qualities at the Paris climate negotiations in December. "
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