COP 21: Saving the planet, a spiritual challenge?

Obviously the COP 21 is a political event, but there is an individual dimension to the COP 21, that of setting an example through all the exhibitions, the meetings, the reports. At the same time, the community dimension which was expressed in or around COP 21 via the actions of civil society, organizations or associations is inseparable from the spiritual dimension. Because man does not have the right to enslave, to dominate the earth, he must use and conserve it, take care of it, work it in the noble sense of this verb for the common good of humanity.

cop-21-5-inside2Lmen are in constant interaction with each other and with nature. By integrating the spiritual dimension into sustainable development, we can see in a positive light the range of possibilities of humanity. At the center, the notion of “integral ecology” makes one think of “integral development”, of human ecology, that which takes into account everything: man in all its dimensions, nature in its great variety, the environment. social, economic without forgetting the spiritual dimension.

Ecology and the relationship to Creation take an increasingly important place in Christian reflection. "What surrounds us" is precisely the meaning of the word "environment" which appears in the title of “religion and environment” intervention of Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople given to the Catholic Institute of Paris in 2014.

“Overexploitation of natural resources not only reflects a lack of intelligence, but is also a serious ethical problem. Faced with such a selfish attitude, religion cannot be silent and refrain from recalling eternal truths and alerting members of society to the dangers they incur ”

Earth is a common home that humanity needs to urgently take care of. Pope Francis, taking up the observations of scientists and economists, does not have enough harsh words to describe the sad state of the planet in his encyclical Laudate Si. He does so by closely linking degradations of nature and degradations of human relations :

"The cry of the earth is also the cry of the poor".

“Overexploitation of natural resources not only reflects a lack of intelligence, but is also a serious ethical problem. Faced with such a selfish attitude, religion cannot be silent and refrain from recalling eternal truths ”
Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople

For this reason, the bishops of New Zealand wondered what the commandment "you shall not kill" means when "twenty percent of the world's population consume resources in such a way that they steal from poor nations, and from future generations. , what they need to survive ”. Today believers and non-believers, we agree to consider that the earth is essentially a common heritage, a "common house" whose fruits should benefit everyone. Climatic disturbances linked to the use of fossil fuels only amplify the imbalances.

In a debate aired on December 3, 2015, Radio RCF brought together three personalities a cardinal Mgr Philippe Barbarin, archbishop of Lyon, a rabbi Haïm Korsia, Chief Rabbi of France and an atheist the geneticist Axel Kahn to talk about ecology and the spiritual dimension in relation to the safeguard of our planet Earth.

Instead of honoring planet Earth, I only care about the money I'm going to pump out of it. Instead of cultivating it, I will exploit it. We need to return to a less consumerist dimension of our daily actions and attitudes. Because by continuing to use the land in this way, we are stealing goods from the poor but also from the future generation. What can we save from our Earth for our descendants? For believers it becomes a question of fidelity to the Creator, since God created the world for everyone. The Earth is essentially a common heritage, the fruits of which should benefit everyone.

The air we breathe, like the sea and the oceans that surround us, are for us the source of biological life. If they are soiled or polluted, our existence is threatened. Therefore the degradation and destruction of the environment is a form of suicide of mankind. Thousands of people die every day as a result of pollution, degradation of their living environment, technological accidents whether chemical, nuclear or physical (dam failure, building collapse, not respecting construction standards , etc.) because of not being able to access food that is overproduced. What do we do with the commandment "you shall not kill"? Are we inexorably trapped in our lifestyles and our systems which never cease to ignore the constraints of nature or which do not respect people? Should we continue to waste resources while others are dying and unable to access them?

Woe to those who monopolize wealth! (Micah 2 v 1 to 4) With the unlimited exploitation of resources, our contemporary world is transformed into a society of lust. This no longer consists in satisfying the vital needs of man, but his constantly growing and endless desires that our consumer society cultivates.

If we must pay attention to nature, live with it, it is not, however, a divinity above man. It is "placed" at our disposal, at the disposal of all humanity. Man must come first, but we must protect nature, its biodiversity, its fauna and flora. We must love him so that all creation can praise its Creator. This spiritual question cannot be dissociated from all the debate around the disturbances of our planet due to human activity, so that all can live in this "common house" We are responsible "because man is like the tree of the field It has roots in the earth; we are tied to the earth but we must rise, our branches must be in the heavens. We must make the link between the realities of the world and an aspiration, a hope for our humanity. We must be the salt of the earth and the light of the world, including in these ecological questions which all have an ethical dimension in order to respect man and nature created by God.

Nathanael Bechdolff

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