Some days seem too large to think about. Many may find today's World Environment Day too big a stretch for minds still adjusting to the local impact of bushfires and coronavirus restrictions, writes Fr Andrew Hamilton SJ. Source: Catholic Outlook.
These things have reduced our world to our immediate street and suburb and to the next lifting of restrictions. The environment is too big to think about, and the world too difficult to imagine. Our concerns and our space are entirely local.
Despite this, however, coronavirus should draw our attention beyond our local concerns to our great environment. Alterations in the human environment, including the intrusion of human beings into the habitat of wild animals, allowed them to penetrate our cells with incalculable consequences.
In the case of the virus, our lack of respect for the natural environment of which we are part has devastated our built environment.
The coronavirus has also focused our attention on the human environment, and on the ways in which we shape our relationships with one another and with the natural world. World Environment Day encourages us to reflect on these relationships too.
In the human world, greed is like a virus that affects societies and destroys our respect for the natural environment. It destroys the rich and delicate network of interlocking relationships that shape human beings into the communities in which all can prosper. It does this by taking over individuals and turning them into rogue competitors with one another.
Like the coronavirus, greed is the prick that penetrates and enters the cells of the human spirit and arms it against others. It leads people to duplicate the effects of greed on their spirit in their human interactions with the world, so destroying the delicate sets of relationships that keep it in balance and support human life.
World Environment Day, then, is vital to keep in mind as we think of rebuilding our society. Will we build it, and eventually destroy it, by founding it on greed? Or will we build it on respect for the environment of which we all are part?
Fr Andrew Hamilton SJ writes for Jesuit Communications and Jesuit Social Services.
A reflection for World Environment Day (Catholic Outlook)