By Sr. Roni Schweyen

I will begin with a quote from Thomas Berry, “It’s hand in hand with nature that we will go into the future, or we will not go at all.”  In Pax Christi we are searching for ways to bring a peaceful approach to our world.  While I was pondering this, I realized that we also need a new approach to our earth – to look at how we can be bringers of ‘salvation’ to the earth.

I have met many missionaries, priests, sisters, brothers and lay missioners who work with indigenous people around the world.  We see that the majority of people in the 3rd world can “bear witness to the fact that [the earth’s] eco-systems are moving steadily toward a biological collapse.”  It isn’t surprising then that most concerned scientists agree that “the present dominant economic system is outmoded” and shows that the approaches to the environmental problems – and the earth – “no longer correlate with reality.”  Also, this economic system “is a source of great injustice and inequity.”  These words from Sr. Ann Braudis, a Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns staff member who represents Maryknoll at the UN, were written soon after Earth Day in 2011.  We are now three years into the worsening situation.

As I reflect on the opening quote from Thomas Berry, I am aware that so many of our modern developments take us away from nature.  Instead of walking to a bus stop – or to the train – (when it’s within walking distance) most people drive; they would not consider the possibility of walking that distance.  We have become very used to traveling by plane, and the jet fuel is one of the worst polluters to our eco-system.  Many people just don’t want to think about what our pesticides and chemicals are doing to destroy water systems and the natural habitats of animals.

I am writing this reflection on what is presently of utmost importance – “Saving the earth” – because we are approaching another Earth Day which is celebrated around the world on April 22nd each year.

I, along with millions of concerned citizens, want to bring the cries of the suffering earth to the attention of all.  We appeal to all citizens to start to care enough to work in some way to change this decline of the health and the systems of “Mother Earth.”  Let us all join together this year to be the change that is needed in protecting our environment.

(Some quotes were taken from “Maryknoll News Notes”, May-June 2011, p.18, from MOGC Office.)