Recent reports of climate change, warnings that some destructions that we humans have inflicted on our planet are now irreversible, that species of plant and animal life have been destroyed doesn't seem to make much difference to us. We continue to build on flood plains and wonder at flooding, to build on volcanoes and wonder at them erupting. I recently saw someone on television talking of Naples sitting on the time bomb of Vesuvius with a wide smile on her face. Looking at it all rationally we are quite mad. Pope Francis recently said that God always forgives, humans sometimes forgive but nature never forgives. Nature cannot forgive. All it can do is regulate itself, change the steps of the dance to ensure its survival, establish new relationships that compensate for the ones that we humans have destroyed and that might eventually lead to our own destruction. What can we do about it - what am I doing about it? How to get back to treasuring the earth, to living in tune with nature, to see every step as a miracle? This is a challenge for me and for all of us.
There are and have been prophets amongst us who have warned us against our exploitation of the earth's resources, often at the cost of poor and traditional societies. One such person is Bro. Vincent Canas, remembered in this month's Jesuit calendar. Twenty -seven years ago yesterday Br Vincent was murdered in his small hut because of his dedication to the Amerindian people and his commitment to speaking up for their land rights in the face of farmers and cattle ranchers wanting land for business and profit and not afraid to destroy it or abuse it for their own ends.
There is also my own religious sister Dorothy Stang who was murdered in 2005. She understood how necessary the Amazon rain forest was to our planet as well as the people who lived there. She saw the forest and the people plundered for financial gain by illegal logging operations, land speculators, and cattle ranchers. She witnessed political leaders allowing the destruction to continue. She knew her name was on a death list and that her days were numbered. She was shot by two hired gunmen, only with her bible. As a result of her murder the Brazilian President Luiz Inacio da Silva put nearly 20,000 of the Amazon's 1.6 million square miles under federal environmental protection. Why was her death necessary before this could happen?
This beautiful and fragile planet is in our care, we are intimately connected to it and its future is in our hands. The lives of each one of us will make a contribution to its well -being for good or for ill. What will it be?