Office of Global Ministries Reflections
According to Paul Hawken in Blessed Unrest, “One quadrillion cells make up a human being, and 90 percent of them are bacteria, fungi, yeasts and other microbes, without which we could not survive. Therein lies a paradox: what makes us fully human is, well, not human. … Within our body is the backstory of the earth four billion years ago, the molecular chains, elemental compounds, simple bacteria, salty fluids that wash our eyes and surround our cells, forming a compendium of life that has preceded us. We have always been a work in progress…”
Pausing to consider the process of our reality in being Earth and our relational growth with Earth, spring provides the opportunity for reflection on transformation. Spring provides time and space for individuals to further ground themselves and contemplate the heart of God in The Universe Story by growing in understanding of the concepts surrounding “Care of Earth.”
The more individuals understand these concepts and ground themselves in these mystical moments of awareness of Earth within, the deeper the call in love to stand in solidarity with our sisters and brothers in the cosmos to be and act as one heart and one body.
This Easter season, the Office of Global Ministries shares a series of reflections that invites individuals to contemplate:
- Climate Change
- Food Security
- Food Sovereignty
- Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s)
- Sustainable Development
Focus on Climate Change
Climate change is “a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods.” (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change)
“At its core, global climate change is not about economic theory or political platforms, nor about partisan advantage or interest group pressures. It is about the future of God’s creation and the one human family.” (U.S. Catholic Bishops, Global Climate Change: A Plea for Dialogue, Prudence and the Common Good.)
Carbon, Women and Trees: In November 2006, the Green Belt Movement, founded by Nobel Peace Laureate Wangari Maathai, and the World Bank’s Community Development Carbon Fund Project signed an Emission Reductions Purchase Agreement (ERPA) to reforest two mountain areas in Kenya. Women’s groups planted thousands of indigenous trees on 2,000 hectares of the Aberdares and Mt. Kenya forest ranges. By 2017, the trees will have captured 375,000 tons of carbon dioxide and restore soil lost to erosion and support regular rainfall essential to Kenya’s farmers and hydro-power plants, the country’s main source of electricity. Planting the trees also provided poor, rural women with a small income and with it some economic independence and a great measure of control over their lives.
- Wangari Maathai responded to a cause of climate change by planting trees. This is called mitigation in scientific terms.
- “Climate change magnifies existing inequalities and gender inequality is among the most pervasive.” (UNDP Development Report 2005)
- “The real “inconvenient truth” is that those who contribute least to climate change will be affected the most and have the least capacity to cope or escape.” (USCCB testimony on the Religious and Moral Dimensions of Global Climate Change before the Senate)
- “Think globally, act locally” certainly applies to climate change. What individuals do affects people thousands of miles away.
- The “option for those living in poverty” calls individuals to advocate for sufficient resources to enable poor countries to adapt to climate change – resources that come in addition to regular poverty-focused development assistance. This is called adaptation when countries provide skills and technology in response to climate change.
- What specific actions have I made recently to further reduce my “ecological footprint?”
- When is the last time I urged legislators/decision makers to adopt sustainable energy policies and reduce greenhouse gas emissions?
- Avoid over-consumption and commit to “buy nothing” for a day each week.