What comes to your mind when you hear the word Ecology?
Gardening, tree planting, waste segregation, green revolution, recycle, reuse, reduce, climate change, biodiversity. Yes, all these relate to Ecological topics, concerns, and actions. Things one must do to help the environment if and only if that person is aware of the environmental condition.
How is Ecology an integral ministry in the Church?
Let us define: Ecology is the branch of biology that deals with the relations of organisms to one another and to their physical surroundings- definition from Oxford Languages.
Organisms can be a plant, animal, bird, insect and even a microbe. Note that they all exhibit properties of life which makes them dependent on their surroundings. Which is relatively significant to human. We breathe, and therefore we exhibit property of life within us. Therefore, we humans are dependent on our surroundings!
Why then that human hurt this environment, a habitat he is dependent upon? This is where the church comes in. How? Let us dig into some facts and figures to justify the need of the church’s role in this crusade.
There are several materials and usage that damages the environment but let us touch on the topic of the number one culprit, Single Use Plastics!
According to UN’s exact words, “our planet is CHOKING on plastic! That in the early 2000s, the amount of plastic waste we generated rose more in a single decade than it had in the previous 40 years. Today, we produce about 400 million tons of plastic waste every year. Since the 1970s, the rate of plastic production has grown faster than that of any other material. If historic growth trends continue, global production of primary plastic is forecast to reach 1,100 million tons by 2050.”
These plastics clog our water and sewerage, thereby damaging our ecological system. It harms our health as well because single use plastics are made up of fossil fuel-based materials (petrochemicals) and are meant to be thrown away right after use.
Our oceans have been the endpoint of these careless plastic disposal affecting the marine environment and industry.
The painful part is these plastics are essential item in our everyday life. It makes the process of environmental rehabilitation difficult. The modern style of living, the fast-paced lifestyle and the technology-based jobs are dependent on plastic packaging materials. It seems that people cannot cope with daily routine without a role of the plastic materials in the script of daily living. Not that they don’t want to join the crusade to preserve the surroundings but ease of chores at home and processes in the industries are tied up to the use of plastics forever.
If government, industries, commerce, and the buying market has come to an end of ways to help rehabilitate and protect Mother Earth, it is therefore the Church that is left to do something.
It is a form of pastoral service designed to achieve the integral purpose of ecological restoration and recovery. In the ministry, the church may be able to conduct formations to its parishioners to better understand the role of an environmental steward.
In my opinion, one cannot initiate environmental care unless he understands the value of CREATION. A teaching only a church can translate and teach best. A steward if given and has acquired proper and complete theology of stewardship can deliver the best care to our common home. While it is true that Ecology is purely a scientific understanding, an ordinary human being cannot easily give value to it amid his daily tasks of making a living. But if one has been guided and learned the value of care to our common home it will become his natural reflexes to care when he understands that the earth is where he is physically dependent upon and without it in proper condition would affect him and the human race.
Our church, aligned with the message of LAUDATO SI, the Pope’s letter addressed to every person living on this planet on care for our common home, can guide us to start a dialogue among us. Every little beginning can have big effect in consistency.
The earth cries for help. Are you just going to ignore it? Do you feel obliged to care? Or you do realize how important to do something for our Mother Earth to restore and recover its beauty, strength, and resources which are meant for our common good.
GO GREEN…THERE IS NO PLANET B!
Written By: Dhess Torres