Laudato si’ Movement: Justice for our planet means peace for our people
By Francesca Merlo
With the crisis our common home is facing it is essential that we tackle both the spiritual roots and the material drivers of this ecological crisis. Tomas Insua, Executive Director of the Laudato si’ Movement, stressed this point on Thursday whilst presenting Pope Francis’ Message for the upcoming World Day for Care of Creation, celebrated annually on 1 September. But although the material injustices are evident in politically driven conflicts across the globe as is the exploitation of poorer nations, the spiritual roots of the crisis may be less clear to some.
The spiritual roots are “the detachment from the real world”, explains Tomas Insua, in particular, he elaborates on the fact that “we no longer see it [the planet] as a sacred gift from God…but rather we see it as an object to be exploited”.
We must lose this underlying need to wipe out the natural world, he continues, before going on to recall St Francis of Assisi. “If we met someone today, who like St Francis did, calls the trees his brothers and the birds his sisters, the reaction would be to ask ‘What’s going on with you?’”. But the reality, Insua adds, is that “if we had that same understanding of creation that St Francis did, we would treat our world very differently indeed”.
An ecological conversion
"We are being called to what Pope Saint John Paul II described as an ecological conversion", he explains.
This conversion must come from within, and from seeing what is happening around us with different eyes, says Tomas Insua. He explains that the theme for the World Day for Care of Creation, Let the River of Justice and Peace Flow, is an invitation to do precisely that. “Justice and peace have everything to do with climate and creation”, he says.
The ecological crisis and the climate emergency show injustice, as “the poor, ironically, are the ones who contributed the least to the climate crisis, are the ones most hard hit. But not only is it an injustice towards the poor, but we are also doing injustice towards our children and their children after them,” Insua notes.
Conflict deriving from environmental degradation
On the theme of peace, he continues, aside from the war against creation, there are many conflicts which are closely related to environmental degradation. “For example, the upheaval in Syria started from severe drought”. Syria is now facing one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises and has been at war for over ten years.
So, yes, justice and peace, continues Tomas Insua…“Justice and peace for our planet, so that we may have justice and peace for our people”.