“What is happening to our common home?” This is an apparently simple question. The answer thereto however is not only profound but also quite intricate as well as disturbing. With the help of renowned scientists, respected environmentalists plus a number of orthodox schools of ecology, Pope Francis wrote an encyclical – a formal and official letter addressed to the world as a whole, irrespective of race, color and creed – titled “Praised be to You, my Lord” (24 May 2015). While sincere and profound gratitude to the Good Lord is expressed for His gift of earth as a whole to the whole of humanity as the latter’s “Common Home”, much lamentation too is in order and thereby clearly expressed. Reason: The people are gradually and continuously destroying nothing less than their one and only “Common Home” while forgetting that in doing so, they are likewise doing nothing less than pitifully destroying their own elves.
So it is that instead of a home where a family finds its shelter and safety, its food and rest, the human community precisely suffers from want, disease, death well-included, precisely in their own “Common Home” called “Earth”. The air they breathe is poisonous. The water they drink from it is unsafe. The food they produce and eat is not only little in quantity but also questionable in quality. So it is that their “Common Home” has instead become a common danger not only to them but to their posterity as well. It is easy to deny this truth. But then, such is but a deadly falsehood.
Man has become his own enemy, his own killer even by the serious and continuous pollution he causes, by his throwaway culture, by his destruction of biodiversity, by the challenge of ecology and climate he slowly but certainly causes. Hence: “The destruction of the human environment is extremely serious, not only because God has entrusted the world to us men and women, but because human life itself is a gift which must be defended from various forms of debasement.” (Op. cit., n.5)
When the exploitation of nature by man himself is ill-done, then no less than humanity itself risks in actually destroying it – and thereby likewise takes the risk in becoming the subject-object of the destruction. This is not really unlike someone making poison, surrounding himself with poison and eventually poisoning himself. Needless to say, such actuation is against reason and ethics as well as contrary to faith and morals. In other words, the destruction of one’s “Common Home” ultimately means his own self-destruction in due time.
It is not only right and proper but also necessary and wherefore mandatory to know and remember that the now frequently heard term “Ecology” means that branch of biology that deals with the relation of living beings/things to both their environment and to each other. So it is that the good of one is the blessing of the other and what is bad for one is bad for the other. Translation: Would that humanity take good care of the environment so that this in turn would take good care of humanity. “GOD… Enlighten those who possess power and money that they may avoid the sin of indifference, that they may love the common good, advance the cause of the weak and care for this world we live in.” (Idem, n.246)