COMMUNICATIONS from the Bishop

No. 827         Diocese of Marbel, Philippines                                  13 July 2015

 

CHAPTER FOUR: INTEGRAL ECOLOGY (5th installment, “Laudato Si’”

“Since everything is closely interrelated, and today’s problems call for a vision capable of taking into account every aspect of the global crisis, I suggest that we now consider some elements of an integral ecology, one which clearly respects its human and social dimensions.” (n. 137)

 I. ENVIRONMENTAL, ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL ECOLOGY

“Ecology studies the relationship between living organisms and the environment in which they develop.” (n. 138)

“When we speak of the environment, what we really mean is a relationship existing between nature and the society which lives in it… Recognizing the reason why a given area is polluted requires a study of the workings of society, its economy, its behavior patterns, and the ways it grasps reality… It is essential to seek comprehensive solutions which consider the interactions within natural systems themselves and with the social systems… We are faced…with one complex crisis which is both social and environmental.” (n. 139)

“Economic growth…tends to produce predictable reactions and a certain standardization with the aim of simplifying procedures and reducing costs.  This suggests for an ‘economic ecology’ capable of appealing to a broader vision of reality.  The protection of the environment is in fact ‘an integral part of the development process and cannot be considered in isolation from it’ (n. 139;Rio Declaration, 1992, Principle 4).  We urgently need a humanism capable of bringing together the different fields of knowledge, including economics, in the service of a more integral and integrating vision.” (n. 141)

“If everything is related, then the health of a society’s institutions has consequences for the environment and the quality of human life.  ‘Every violation of solidarity and civic friendship harm the environment’ (Benedict XVI, CV, 2009, 51).  In this sense, social ecology is necessarily institutional and civic friendship gradually extends to the whole of society, from the primary social group, the family, to the wider local, national and international communities.” (n. 142)

 II. CULTURAL ECOLOGY

“Together with the patrimony of nature, there is also an historic, artistic and cultural patrimony which is likewise under threat… Ecology, then, also involves protecting the cultural treasures of humanity in the broadest sense… Culture is more than what we have inherited from the past; it is also, and above all, a living, dynamic and participatory present reality, which cannot be excluded as we rethink the relationship between beings and the environment.” (n. 143)

“A consumerist vision of human beings, encouraged by the mechanisms of today’s globalized economy, has a levelling effect on cultures, diminishing the immense variety which is the heritage of all humanity…as life and theworld are dynamic realities, so our care for the world must also be flexible and dynamic… There is a need to respect the rights of the peoples and cultures, and to appreciate that the development of a social group presupposes a historical process which takes place within a cultural context and demands the constant and active involvement of local people fromwithintheir proper culture.” (n. 144)

“Many intensive forms of environmental exploitation and degradation not only exhaust the resources which provide local communities with their livelihood, but also undo the social structure which, for a long time, shaped cultural identity and their sense of meaning of life and community.” (n. 145)

“In this sense, it is essential to show special care for indigenous communities and their cultural traditions… They…should be the principal dialogue partners, especially when large projects affecting their land are proposed.  For them, land is not a commodity but rather a gift from God and from their ancestors who rest there, a sacred space with which they need to interact if they are to maintain their identity and values.

 III. ECOLOGY OF DAILY LIFE

“Authentic development includes efforts to bring about an integral development in the quality of human life, and entails considering the setting in which people live their lives.  These settings influence the way we think, feel and act.” (n. 149)

“The extreme poverty experienced in areas lacking harmony, open spaces or potential for integration, can lead to incidents of brutality and to exploitation by criminal organizations… Nonetheless…love always proves more powerful.” (n. 149)

“Given the interrelationship between living space and human behavior, those who design buildings, neighborhoods, public spaces and cities, ought to draw on the various disciplines which help us to understand people’s thought processes, symbolic language and ways of acting.” (n. 150)

“There is also a need to protect common areas, visual landmarks and urban landscapes, which increase our sense of belonging, of rootedness, of ‘feeling at home’ within a city…” (n. 151)

“Lack of housing is a grave problem… Having a home has much to do with a sense of personal dignity and growth of families.  This is a major issues for human ecology.” (n. 152)

“Human ecology also implies another profound reality: the relationship between human life and the moral law, which is inscribed in our nature and is necessary for the creation of a more dignified environment.  Pope Benedict XVI spoke of an ‘ecology of man’.” (Address to German Bundestag. Berlin, 2011)

 IV. THE PRINCIPLE OF THE COMMON GOOD

“An integral ecology is inseparable from the notion of common good, a central and unifying principle of social ethics.  The common good is ‘the sum of those conditions of social life which allows social groups and their individual members relatively thorough and ready access to their own fulfillment’” (n. 156, Vat. II, GS, 26)

“…the principle of the common good becomes…a summons to solidarity and a preferential option for the poorest of our brothers and sisters.” (n. 158)

 V. JUSTICE BETWEEN GENERATIONS

“The notion of the common good also extends to future generations… Portuguese bishops: ‘The environment is part of a logic of receptivity.  It is on loan to each generation, which must then hand it on to the next’” (n. 159.  Pastoral Letter, 15 Sept. 2003, 20)

“In addition to a fairer sense of intergenerational solidarity there is also an urgent moral need for a renewed sense of intragenerational solidarity.” (n. 162.  Benedict XVI, WDP, 2010, 8)

NEXT ISSUE: CHAPTER FIVE.  LINES OF APPROACH AND ACTION

Back to: 2015 COMMUNICATIONS from the Bishop

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About bishopdinualdo

Bishop Dinualdo D. Gutierrez is the Bishop of the Diocese of Marbel
This entry was posted in Earth Spirituality., Environment Principles, Environment/Ecology, Laudato Si, Pope, Pope Francis. Bookmark the permalink.

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