Pope Francis made an impassioned plea to all christians last week. He called for us to show mercy to our common home, to cherish the world in which we live, and to have compassion for the poor.
In my context, the pontiff is appealing for us to be sustainable (mercy), mitigate the causes of climate change (cherish) and for social justice (compassionate).
In his message for the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation (on 1st September each year) the Pope declared as sins, actions that “… destroy the biological diversity of God’s creation”, “… degrade the integrity of the earth by causing changes in its climate, by stripping the earth of its natural forests or destroying its wetlands” and “… contaminate the earth’s waters, its land, its air, and its life…”
The strength of leadership shown in this blunt words is to be commended.
What can we do individually to follow this lead and change our course from a system that “has imposed the mentality of profit at any price, with no concern for social exclusion or the destruction of nature”, to a system that is more respectful of creation?
An course changes within a modern lifestyle will be around reducing waste, planting trees, separating rubbish and minimising energy use.
We can also do something else the pontiff called for – to press our governments to act on the commitments made in Paris in December of 2015 and to advocate for even more ambitious climate mitigation goals.
The Anglican Diocese of Auckland’s Cherished Earth initiative is exactly aligned with promoting these changes. The parish level actions around energy, food, waste and water sustainability can each be easily implemented in our own home.
Pope Francis has gone a step further by advocating for care for creation to be added to the seven spiritual works of mercy outlined in the Gospel. This would be a significant and controversial change but one that fronts up to the seriousness of the crisis we now face.
To learn more about the Anglican Diocese of Auckland’s sustainability work, contact John Allen through the contact form below.