Let’s reflect on our “common home” —– the Earth and our relationship with Her. Pope Francis opines: “We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing and its human roots concern and affect us all.” So, let’s ask : What am I doing to make our home –the Earth — a paradise for everyone, everywhere ?
Pope Francis laments that “the earth is beginning to look like an immense pile of filth” due to many reasons : pollution, wastage, a throwaway culture, selfish exploitation of the earth’s resources and lack of concern for the poor, who are worst affected and least equipped to cope with ecological crises.
“It’s good for humanity and the world at large when we better recognise the ecological commitments which stem from our faith convictions. The religions of Mother India can collaboratively inspire us to care for Mother Earth. The adivasi-tribal religions celebrate mother nature and foster an all-embracing sense of the sacred in their myths, culture, festivals and lifestyles.
The Vedas look at all beings ——- living and non-living ——- as subsisting by the same spiritual power. The whole universe becomes EKANEEDAM (one home) and one must transcend one’s AHAMKARA (ego) to enter into transcendental consciousness of the “Ground of all beings”.
The Quranic concepts of KHALIFA (trusteeship) and TAWHEED (the unity of all creatures) instruct Muslims to shoulder their responsibilities as guardians of Khuda’s creation, so as to bequeath a green earth for future generations.
Buddha preached an ethic of DHAMMA (universal harmony, embracing not only human beings but all creatures. This engenders universal love with KARUNA (compassion), METTA (friendliness), MUDITA (gentleness) and UPEKHA (equanimity) towards all beings.
Ecology and economics have the same root, OIKOS, that in Greek means “home”. To care for our earthly home, we need creative, committed and collaborative “homework” among entrepreneurs, economists, politicians and policy-makers worldwide. If what Pope Francis calls “integral ecology” becomes a reality, then all of creation will joyously sing LAUDATO SI (Praise be with you)
———- Francis Gonsalves (professor of Theology)