Safeguarding the Environment

No, this is not a thread to present an argument nor initiate a debate. I think that has pretty much run its course on the global warming thread. Instead, let us start with the acknowledgement that we all see creation as a gift from God. For many people, even atheists, nature is the primary place of encounter with God, thought they may not recognize as such. But, we do not live in a perfect Eden. There are practical limitations, tasks, trade offs, values to prioritize and complexities to grapple with. How about we just share some thoughts. Reflect with the Compendium as a good place to start?

The relationship of man with the world is a constitutive part of his human identity.

This relationship is in turn the result of another still deeper relationship between man and God.

The Lord has made the human person to be a partner with him in dialogue.

Only in dialogue with God does the human being find his truth, from which he draws inspiration and norms to make plans for the future of the world, which is the garden that God has given him to keep and till.

Not even sin could remove this duty, although it weighed down this exalted work with pain and suffering.

Our relationship with the world is the result of our relationship with God. Interesting! But you know, we each have to take soemthing from it (food, energy, shelter, etc) while leaving some form of waste in return. It is inevitable. And the more of us there are, the more we as a human community take and leave.

We have to dig and we have to work just to get what we need. This is our “exalted” work. Sometimes we even have to purify and refine because what the earth gives us in the raw is not suitable. But the biggest challenge is the waste that always has the potential to contaminate.

How are we to manage that?

The Compenium goes on to say:

  1. The biblical message and the Church’s Magisterium represent the essential reference points for evaluating the problems found in the relationship between man and the environment. The underlying cause of these problems can be seen in man’s pretension of exercising unconditional dominion over things, heedless of any moral considerations which, on the contrary, must distinguish all human activity.

The tendency towards an “ill-considered” exploitation of the resources of creation is the result of a long historical and cultural process.

“pretension of exercising unconditional dominion”
“‘ill-considered’ exploitation”

Those are very strong words! Certainly in some cases they are true. But for the most part are we not just trying to survive? Or do we all, in fact participate in that exploitation? I may have my opinions about energy resources but right now I have my lights and a/c on adn tomorrow I will be driving my truck.

What do you see as the biggest threat to the environement?

Global warming thread? The planet’s been cooling for almost 10 years!

Yes, we need to safeguard the environment.

And who’s doing it?

People with a sense of personal responsibility. :yup:

If you think the activists do it, just look at any trash can or dumpster at the nearest university and see how sustainable that is, not to mention your average academic conference. :o

In a word: GREENPEACE.:mad:

What do you see as the biggest threat to the environement?

Bovine flatulence :smiley:

I agree we all need to do our part to protect the environment. What we are able to accomplish is related to our position in life. People heading up corporations may have more opportunity to make decisions with large scale impact. I think the little things go a long way. I pick up trash when i’m out walking or camping. I don’t consume needlessly or waste. When our trees ripen we can’t possibly eat all the fruit. I pick the ones that fall to the ground, and give them to our friend who has pigs. The rest we give to the church & neighbors. We recycle. It all adds up.

If people own animals I think God will hold us accountable for how they are cared for. Cattle, sheep, goats should at least have the basics. Food, water, shade, and a rock free resting place.

I think our destruction of the environment has to do with Adam, Eve, and Cain. It’s just that our technology to disobey God and kill people has extremely progressed :frowning:

Maybe what we need is Jesus :slight_smile:

Pope Francis and the saints also help :slight_smile:

They used to be a great group, but during the Reagen Era, a lot of communists found their home there and I’ve heard at least a few of the original members were not down with that.

Hard to blame them considering that communism has been very destructive to the environment.

You’ve hit on an important point. It is not capitalism per se that is destroying the environment, but industrialization, which both capitalism & communism share. Plus our unwillingness (our fallen human nature) to honestly understand in which ways industrialization is destructive and work to mitigate them, while keeping the various benefits of industrialization. We have made industrialization and oil & other fossil fuels into gods to be worshipped and not touched – allowing them to do whatever havoc we can do with them.

The other issue about “communism” is that what is perhaps more destructive about it is not per se its economic system of “sharing and caring” (as found in monasteries) but that most communist systems at the macroscale come with totalitarian forms of political systems. When people don’t have much say in matters they cannot even act in their own behalf, so when they are getting sick and dying from environmental harms the totalitarian system just steamrollers over them, either ignoring their plight in the name of the betterment of all or figuring them as collateral damage to be written off. Look at China now, which has become capitalist but has maintained its fairly totalitarian political system. In one docu about its severe environmental problems and cancer alleys, it explains how its GDP is increasing by 7% per year, while its environmental costs are about 12% – it’s going backwards very fast. (We in the West are also in “overshoot” but not nearly as severe.) OTOH, whose harms are those. Look at our “Made in China” labels – we are at the least complicit facilitators of human (and others of God’s creation) deaths and harms. Omnicide, so to speak.

The other main issue underlying all modern systems economic and political is Enlightenment-founded fallacies re our concept of the environment as being passive resources for the taking, or worse, just a bunch of useless wild species in useless wilderness places, coming in a very far and poor second to our human exigencies. It fails to understand that we (God’s creation here on earth) are all interconnected – harm one part, you harm other parts, including people – and that the environment is also the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, the chemicals that permeate our skin and lungs, the resources with which we build our home, buildings and products, the climate in which we grow our crops, and the ocean from which we get our seafood. Maybe we don’t really want to know this, and just assume our food comes from grocery stores. Living in climate controlled built environments we can so very easily dismiss the environment and even God. We in so-called democracies live in totalitarian states of mind – rigidly refusing to face the truth.

Since the Enlightenment was very much against the Catholic Church – perhaps a blow from which is has still not fully recovered – I’m thinking one of the great hopes to address environmental harms is the Catholic Church…if only we can pry Catholics aways from their anti-Catholic, anti-environmental mindsets and help them understand the issues and to not be afraid in addressing them squarely.

That is my prayer.

Our lives have become based upon them.

That is an important acknowledgement even if it seems little can be done about it.

The Compendium speaks beautifully to that:

  1. Serious ecological problems call for an effective change of mentality leading to the adoption of new lifestyles, “in which the quest for truth, beauty, goodness and communion with others for the sake of the common good are the factors that determine consumer choices, savings and investments”. These lifestyles should be inspired by sobriety, temperance, and self-discipline at both the individual and social levels. There is a need to break with the logic of mere consumption and promote forms of agricultural and industrial production that respect the order of creation and satisfy the basic human needs of all. These attitudes, sustained by a renewed awareness of the interdependence of all the inhabitants of the earth, will contribute to eliminating the numerous causes of ecological disasters as well as guaranteeing the ability to respond quickly when such disasters strike peoples and territories. The ecological question must not be faced solely because of the frightening prospects that environmental destruction represents; rather it must above all become a strong motivation for an authentic solidarity of worldwide dimensions.

We can certainly do our part as individuals and it can be an inconvenience. But currently there seems to be a built in conflict between short term economic stability and long term sustainability. It was not very long ago that people heading up corporations saw no benefit in air & water regulation.

“The relationship of man with the world is a constitutive part of his human identity.
This relationship is in turn the result of another still deeper relationship between man and God.”

I work with methodist pastor who believes that God gave us the world to use and we do not need to be concerend about ecolocigal issues. “God is in charge.” He sees it as a sin NOT to drill for oil and use the many resources God has given us. This is where I see the value of our great Catholic comprehensive teaching. It recognizes our relationship to the world ( and its resources) as a communal expression of our relationship with God and an opportunity make choices respecting the balance, the needs of others, and the common good. It is charged with “Responsibility”.

Thought I’d repost my recent post here:

My sister has been caught in the Colorado floods. She’s safe, but can’t get to her house. I just sent her the prayer I learned from CAF from a Filippino asking for prayers re the flooding in the Philippines which claimed lives and did horrific damage. It was created by his bishop there:

Oratio Imperata for Deliverance from Calamities

“Almighty Father, we raise our hearts to You in gratitude for the wonders of creation of which we are part, for Your providence in sustaining us in our needs, and for Your wisdom that guides the course of the universe.

“We acknowledge our sins against You and the rest of creation.

“We have not been good stewards of Nature.

“We have confused Your command to subdue the earth.

“The environment is made to suffer our wrongdoing, and now we reap the harvest of our abuse and indifference.

“Global warming is upon us. Typhoons, floods, volcanic eruption, and other natural calamities occur in increasing number and intensity.

“We turn to You, our loving Father, and beg forgiveness for our sins.

“We ask that we, our loved ones and our hard earned possessions be spared from the threat of calamities, natural and man-made.

“We beseech You to inspire us all to grow into responsible stewards of Your creation, and generous neighbors to those in need.


If we can’t find it in our hearts to reduce our greenhouse gases and other pollution – and would fiercely block any action our gov might take – we can at least pray.

I told my sister how I’d told the poster I’d be praying for him and the Philippines, and ask if he and others on the thread would pray for my area which had been in extremely severe drought until (this is what I think) they prayed, and now we have wonderful rain watering our flora and filling up our reservoirs. I asked that it not be hurricane-type winds and deluges (like Emily and Dolly that hit us hard some years back), but gentle healing rain. So far so good.

Prayer works. I even think perhaps our prayers to end climate change may have helped bring about the lull in its increase, the deep solar minimum, etc. Prayer works miracles.

The Methodists here in America were also pro-slavery – not in Europe though & Wesley was completely against slavery.

Of course American Methodists have come a long way since then. Maybe you could point him to the “United Methodist Statements on the Environment”:

What is the Compendium you write about and do you have a link to it?

See chapter 10

Agreed. Those that own the earth have the strongest urge to preserve it. I know I take great care of my farm and insure the preservation of its natural resources. Meanwhile that people that drive on the public roadway throw trash out their windows…:shrug:

There’s more than one source of that.

I hate to see litter.

Would you permit drilling for natural gass or oil?

Of course oil is a stupid question, who wouldn’t?

But how about fracking?

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