Agnes M. BrazalJune 19, 2015
Children swim in a swollen river on Samar Island, Philippines, Dec. 8. Typhoon Hagupit left at least 21 people dead and forced more than a million people into shelters (CNS photo/Francis R. Malasig, EPA).

Coming from a fragile archipelago where the rise in sea level is highest in the world and extreme weather events are predicted to further increase this century, I worry for our future and fervently hope that the clarion call of Pope Francis will be heeded. “Laudato Si’” enjoins all people of goodwill to be concerned about what is happening to our common home. He calls on rich nations to repay their ecological debt to the developing countries by reducing consumption of nonrenewable energy and assisting them in shifting to clean energy and a more sustainable development. He points out the need to address corruption in government in developing countries, which has allowed multinational corporations to unjustly exploit the local resources in ways they could never have done in their home countries.

The encyclical underlines that everyone can do something for our common home. In response to this call, each diocese of the church in the Philippines, in collaboration with other faiths and civil society organizations, can plan to educate and mobilize communities to protect the environment and the threatened resources and species in the area. This without doubt would leave a trail of ecological martyrs. The Global Witness reports that almost a thousand environmental activists opposing mining, deforestation, etc. have been killed from 2002-2013 worldwide, with the number jumping to 20 percent in 2014, a sign that we are in the midst of a global environmental crisis. 

To sustain this commitment as “ecological citizens” thus necessitates a spirituality that inspires, nurtures and provides ultimate meaning to our personal and communal acts. Though “Laudato Si’” explicitly speaks of spirituality only in the last chapter, the whole encyclical is distinctively about an integrative eco-spirituality based on an integral ecology that links labor, technological and social development, with care for creation and the diversity of life forms and cultures, and a special concern for the poor and the vulnerable. The pope elaborates that in the Christian tradition this spirituality finds its deep source in the gospel of creation, the Trinitarian communion and the world as sacrament of this communion.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

The latest from america

Anti-government protesters hide behind makeshift shields during clashes with the police in Bogota, Colombia, Wednesday, June 9, 2021. The protests have been triggered by proposed tax increases on public services, fuel, wages and pensions. (AP Photo/Ivan Valencia)
What began on April 28 as a public reaction to a tax reform proposal from President Iván Duque has expanded into a massive mobilization of broad discontent.
Filipe DominguesJune 15, 2021
One of Germany’s most famous Catholic boys’ choirs, the Regensburg Cathedral Choir, plans to establish a separate choral group for girls for the first time in its more than 1000-year history.
America Media received 56 awards from the Catholic Media Association on June 11 for its groundbreaking coverage of events at the intersection of the church and world across print, digital, audio and video.
America StaffJune 14, 2021
After a year of being kept off the Way of St. James due to pandemic-related travel restrictions, soul-searchers hoping to heal wounds left by the coronavirus are once again strapping on backpacks and following trails to the shrine in the city of Santiago de Compostela.