Our Mother Earth
By Deacon Tom Cervone, Ph.D., Sister Maureen Houlihan, D.C., and Nicole Cervone-Gish, Ed. M.S.
Editor’s note: This series takes a deeper look at Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical － On Care for Our Common Home, Laudato Si’.
Before her death, a reporter friend said she thought it was very important for her readers “to see a need before they would act.”
For nearly three years, this column in The Message has consistently given good reasons to be less consumer-driven and more eco-friendly. It has promoted “Laudato Si’” to all people and to all religions in the world, as requested by Pope Francis - including through his “Ten Commandments for Climate Change” (See What can we do section).
Similarly, a book entitled “The Ten Commandments for the Environment: Pope Benedict XVI Speaks Out for Creation and Justice,” by Woodeene Koenig-Bricker (6/1/2009) is a great resource.
On March 9, 2023, Cardinal Michael Czerny, Prefect of the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development said, “the majority of people are now aware of the calamitous threats posed by climate change, but the real problem is not convincing people that it’s happening, but rather their indifference and despair in the face of that reality” (Brian Roewe, Earthbeat, 3/11/2023).
Just like Moses transcribed the Ten Commandments from God for everyone, we, as earth citizens, need help for ecological awareness and stewardship. The following 10 eco-commandments come from the presentation “Man and Biosphere,” delivered March 9, 1968, in Paris by Peter Menke-Gluckert to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Peter Sogaard Jorgensen, 4/29/2014, “Ten Eco-Commandments, Evolution and Sustainability”):
- Respect the laws of nature. Understand the value of nature, and be appreciative for what God has given us in our Earth and solar system.
- Learn, as responsible earth citizens, from the wisdom of nature. It’s our duty to learn about ecosystems so we can act with wisdom, care, understanding, and sensitivity.
- Do not reduce plurality. We need richness, abundance, and biodiversity.
- Do not pollute! Avoid degrading the land, air and water. Look for ways to clean-up polluted habitats.
- Face your earth-responsibility every day. It’s a fundamental right of all citizens to live in a world unspoiled by man’s refuse and free from wars and hunger.
- Follow the principle of nature precaution/sustainability in all economic activities! Act like indigenous people in using fewer resources and replacing them.
- Act as you speak! Do not buy or use more than you need.
- Prefer intelligent bio-economic solutions. Bring nature into your solutions. Be sensitive to nature’s balance.
- Information about environmental damage belongs to all humankind. Sustainable solutions need to be known through solidarity and dialogue.
- Listen carefully to what your own body tells you about impact of your very personal social and natural environment. Always listen to your inner core from previous life experiences.
In closing, we recommend renewable rather than non-renewable energy; and living in a greener world that promotes healthy forests, wetlands, grasslands, oceans, freshwater lakes, no-till farming (including cover crops) to offset greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel combustion and newly formed arctic sinkholes and melting of the permafrost, and the loss of glaciers and icebergs causing sea-level rise. All contribute to climate change!
What can we do!
“Much of the damage … on land is … invisible to laymen. An ecologist must … harden his shell … or be the doctor who sees … death in a community that believes itself well and wants not to be told otherwise” (Aldo Leopold)
Dr. Tom Cervone is a deacon at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Evansville, Indiana with 50 years of experience in ecology. He graduated from St. Bonaventure University, a Franciscan University. Sister Maureen Houlihan, D.C. is a support sister on the Seton Harvest Farm started by the Daughters of Charity in response to the Communities - Care of Mother Earth. This CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) Farm grows all natural produce for shareholders and the poor. Nicole Cervone-Gish, Ed. MS. is an award winning ELL (English Language Learner) teacher, who lives in Evansville, Indiana with her family.