We are faced not with two separate crises, one environmental and the other social, but rather with one complex crisis which is both social and environmental. Strategies for a solution demand an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the excluded, and at the same time protecting nature.” (Laudato Si, #139)

The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals emphasize the rights of people to have their basic needs met: food, shelter, clean water, a safe environment. What of the other species with whom we share our planet home? As part of God’s creation, they too deserve to have their basic needs met and to have the opportunity to thrive. Pope Francis speaks frequently in Laudato Si’ of the oneness of creation and the environmental and social crises that are irrevocably intertwined. Caring for all of God’s creatures will help and protect those humans who are economically poor and vulnerable. Caring for God’s creation is caring for ourselves.

A Prayer of Gratitude for Creation, by Fiona Murdoch, Eco-Congregation Ireland

God of the universe,

We thank You for Your many good gifts –

For the beauty of Creation and its rich and varied fruits,

For clean water and fresh air, for food and shelter, animals and plants.

Forgive us for the times we have taken the earth’s resources

for granted

And wasted what You have given us.

Transform our hearts and minds 

So that we would learn to care and share,

To touch the earth with gentleness and with love, 

Respecting all living things.

We pray for all those who suffer as a result of our waste,

greed and indifference,

And we pray that the day would come when everyone has enough

food and clean water.

Help us to respect the rights of all people and all species

And help us to willingly share your gifts 

Today and always. Amen.