On this 5th Anniversary of Laudato Si' we recall:
For some fifty years science has been telling us of serious concerns for all life on Planet Earth:
- Since the Industrial Revolution, some 200 years ago, the population of the world has had a 15x increase: from .5 billion to 7.8 billion
- During the same time, with the use of fossil fuels, people use on average 20x as much energy / day as we did before the Industrial revolution.
- This means that in the last 200 years there is a 300x greater use of energy to utilize, or exploit, the natural world's resources per day than there ever was before in the 200,000 years of human existence, and the 3.8 billion years it took the planet to evolve these resources.
Some of the impacts have been, and are:
The Growth economy: the systemic belief and practice that Growth is essential for prosperity; that nature is a commodity to be used for human purposes; that promoting consumption is good for the economy; that the central plot is getting ahead; and that the problems of other peoples, nations, and species are not our concern. [The Cyclic-Economy is an alternative paradigm]
Disparity of wealth: In 1820, the ratio between the income of the top and bottom 20 percent of the world's population was three to one. By 1991, it was eighty-six to one. This week [18 May] an Oxfam Report states that the eight richest billionaires in the world have as much wealth as the poorest half of the world's population combined.
CO2 levels in the atmosphere: safe level – 350ppm; level 10 years ago - 392.7ppm; current level - 416.8ppm
With this comes melting of the polar caps, rising sea levels, and acidification of the oceans.
Climate change: our world now experiences long-term regional and global average of temperature, humidity, and rainfall patterns over seasons, and extreme weather: super-hurricanes, super-floods, super-droughts, super-fires.
Biodiversity loss, and mass extinction of species: with its impact on human health – pandemics included, eco-system services, livelihoods, income, local migration, and causation of political conflict.
A Marist Response:GC2017 E. Care of our Common Home:
44. 'Laudato Si' demands a conversion of life.An ecologically sustainable style of living is an intrinsic part of living the gospel today.Care of the planet and care of the poor are intrinsically linked.
45. 'Laudato Si' gives us a new perspective for reading our Constitutions.
46. Each Marist community shall address some of the concrete implications of the encyclical.
47. The general administration shall create a program for an appropriation of 'Laudato si' providing a variety of practical tools to carry out this process of renewal.
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