By WAYNE CAMPBELL
WELLAND – One person will not save the earth, but many can change daily habits to create an integral ecology.
They will build a different mindset toward care of the earth, said Dr. Cristina Vanin, invited guest for St. Kevin parish’s 21st annual Distinguished Speaker Night on Monday evening.
During her lecture, One Earth: Pope Francis’ Call for an Integral Ecology, Vanin drew on the 2015 encyclical of Pope Francis, Laudato Si’.
The St. Jerome’s University associate dean, Department of Religious Studies, said it is the first Catholic document dedicated to the ecological crisis.
Previous popes, she said, made passing references in writings. Pope Francis, however, said ignoring the plight of the earth is “not an option.”
Vanin, director of the Master of Catholic Thought theology program at St. Jerome’s, is familiar with documents from Rome.
Laudato Si’ is a refreshing change, she said.
“It’s very readable and doesn’t pull any punches.”
Vanin use a powerpoint presentation during her talk as she touched on aspects of Pope Francis’ message: Everything is connected.
He tells us “to just face it,” Vanin said.
“We have plenty of data” on what is going wrong “yet we still have a crisis.”
We have a culture “excessively attentive to our needs but not enough to the needs of creation.”
Pope Francis, in Laudato Si’, decries consumerism, false reliance on technology, unregulated markets bent on profits and a myth of an earth with unlimited resources.
Reflecting on the encyclical, Vanin said society has a widespread indifference to suffering of the poor and suffering of the earth.
This culture of indifference leads to a throwaway culture that discards human beings.
On the side of hope, she refers to the Pope’s call for an integral ecology to bring about a different culture connected with the earth.
It doesn’t mean heading for the wilderness.
We can “go to nature in our everyday lives,” Vanin said by taking a walk and noticing what is around you.
Each person “can pick something concrete to find the nobility of doing daily actions.”
Even car pooling or wearing a sweater at home to reduce energy use can trigger change, she said.
(Wayne Campbell, a retired journalist living in Welland, is an occasional contributor to the blog.)